First day on Horn Island

by Fred Ecks

October 25, 2010

I’m Fred Ecks, one of the boat drivers for Greenpeace. I last wrote in June and July, when I was last here in the Gulf. I’m writing again now, with my first impressions upon my return to the Gulf today:

I’m currently camped on Horn Island, offshore from Biloxi, Mississippi with a small team of Greenpeace investigators witnessing the short-term effects of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill. This is my third time visiting the Gulf since this disaster began. When I first came to the Gulf in June, I witnessed severely-oiled marshes and rookeries, and observed dolphins swimming in oily water 50 miles upstream of the Deepwater Horizon site. When I returned in July, I was startled to discover the apparent “disappearance” of the oil as a result of the application of a few million gallons of the “Corexit” dispersant.

Horn Island Oil

Now, upon my return three months later, what I see is more discouraging than I would have imagined. Before even anchoring our boat along the beach here, we found tarballs filling the sand. The oil cleanup workers are still here, but their work is futile when so much dispersant has been poured into the water. The oil can’t be skimmed from the water or removed by other mechanical means; the dispersant (“Corexit”) prevents this by immersing the oil within the water on a molecular level.

In the meantime, our politicians and business leaders have proclaimed how the oil is “gone”. The news of this disaster has fallen from the media radar quickly during this election year. But the thing is, the oil hasn’t gone anywhere, and it will continue to be here in the Gulf and beyond for a very long time to come.

We can focus on this tragedy and its aftermath, or we can instead look toward a brighter future of conservation and environmental preservation for future generations.

Isn’t it about time for an Energy [R]evolution Now?

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