Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Deep Water Horizon: BP Oil Spill

I live about 2 blocks from the Gulf of Mexico in Mississippi. From my front yard I can see the water. According to NOAA the outer edge of the oil is going to hit the beach by my house on Wednesday and the major thick concentrated center of the spill will hit the beaches of Alabama/Florida about that time as well. The oil is still gushing out.

On some days when it is hot or when the wind is coming in off the Gulf we can smell the oil here. The first time I smelled it was back in late April or early May. The government set up air quality check points along the coast. While I was smelling oil my news was telling me that my air quality is green. Going outside on those days I get an immediate headache and feel nauseous but I am told that my air quality is green/good. More than anything else this is what bothers me the most. I don't know if the air quality people are not testing for the things in the air that an oil spill will leave like methane gas and whatever it is that smells like tar or like driving behind a big old truck spewing black smoke. Or are they just plain lying?

I realize that the economy of this area is very important to the country. Imagine if you will that the millions of people who live on the coast and make their living on the coast are not going to be able to make their house payments, car payments, credit card payments this month or for the foreseeable future. How will this effect the already hurting economy, the banks, you. So commercials have been made saying Mississippi is open for business. Come on down, the seafood is fine, the air is fine, the water is fine.

They go along the beaches and scoop up tar balls with things that look like giant cat litter scoops and then tell us that the beaches are clean and open for business. The shrimp boats are still out catching shrimp. As long as the shrimp doesn't smell like oil and as long as the shrimp is not taken out of an area that has actual oil it is fine, they say. 100s of millions of gallons of oil is a couple miles away but no oil has been spotted in this patch of water so let's grab all the shrimp while we can. The endangered sea turtles have been washing up on the shores since April. However, the local tv station tells us that they have been examined and no oil was found on the turtles therefore something else must have killed them, more than 600 now. If the oil isn't actually touching something it is thought to be clean. They act like there is oil and clean water and nothing else. That the toxins from the oil are not also in the water. Like you could put some oil in your water bottle shake it up, remove the oil and the water is now safe to drink.

I worry that our ground water, our tap water is not safe. I don't know is that over reacting? Am I crazy? The government, the media, no one talks about the air and the ground water. They talk about the business, they talk about the economy. What about the environment as it effects people. I love the animals and I am devastated about all the birds and sea creatures that are going to die, but what about the people. Are we expendable too? For the precious economy.

Did you know that all summer long that rain comes in off the Gulf and travels up the country and out to the Atlantic, usually via New York or Virginia or somewhere in between. Is our country, our farm land going to be polluted with toxins from the oil this summer as the storms sweep through? It is raining here today, a storm off the Gulf, what is in this rain. How do I know?

When this first happened I was so upset I had trouble leaving the house for a couple of weeks. I had trouble sleeping. I had no idea what to do. Every time I talked to Jeff it was all I talked about, what are we going to do? I want out. Get me out of here. Jeff said that he could put in for an overseas assignment. There were a lot of cool places open and we seriously considered this option. We are not currently eligible to be reassigned to another states side location. The down side is we could never sell our house for what we owe or anywhere near what we owe. The economy in my neighborhood has taken a serious nose dive in the last year or two. There are a ton of houses for sale and none of them seem to be moving. We would also not be able to take our new cars with us, well we could take one but we would lose one. Everything we have worked and saved for over the last 10 years we would lose if we moved right now. We would have to start over money wise. We only had a few days to make the decision to put in for a move or not and we chose to stay.

I love it here. The other day at the gym we saw Lily's first grade teacher, she is doing a 6 day boot camp type work out and the reason I know this is she is one of my facebook friends. She said good morning to Lily as she was jogging through the parking lot. Another of my facebook friends is Lily's kindergarten teacher who just had a baby and we were able to see the pictures of her baby right on our computer. These women sweep us up and make us a part of their family. Everywhere I go I am surrounded by caring loving people. I don't think that exists in other places. Perhaps I am wrong but I really want Lily to be able to grow up here. We have never really belonged anywhere else the way we belong here. The people here just scoop you up and make you one of them. But, I don't want to poison my girls or myself.

Can we stay here and not get cancer? Can they clean it up and keep us safe? Will anyone tell me if I am not safe? I need to learn some chemistry and start testing the water and air quality myself, is that even possible?

Saturday marks the 6 month anniversary of Jeff's leaving for this deployment which means that he should be home soon.


luckyzmom said...

You have been through so much since moving there. And you still like the place. Hang in there.

meno said...

Oh man, i don't blame you for wondering if they all lie.

I am really scared to think of what will happen when a hurricane rolls through the area.

Kimberly said...

It is a beautiful place to live. You need to keep asking questions, start attending meetings and document your symptoms. Research what you can but a lot of this is new to everyone so who knows what is out there. I can only imagine what it is like there. My parents are starting to feel the effects of it too. Very scary. You love your home, your community so support it and do what you can to help out but be smart about it and be safe. People work around oil rigs and refineries so maybe there is some info about health conditions and such. Keep asking questions.
Do you have a date yet as to when Jeff arrives? I know your super excited. Have fun!

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry and have wondered how you and the family are fairing during this. I agree document your health in a journal and go see your Doctor so you have an "offical" record. Can you rent your home to go overseas? It is such a mess there,so very sad..-Nana K.