Thursday, May 20, 2010

Oil Spill Not on Sanibel (yet) but Still Raising Questions of Who's to Blame, Who will Pay?

Like the tricolored heron pictured here, who "shades" the water with his wings to better see the fish below the surface, we all need to take a better, deeper, more historical look at the Gulf spill.

Though it has not reached Sanibel Island, and perhaps, with luck, will not reach Sanibel Island, its impact is felt up and down the west coast of Florida.
But as the onion unravels about the spill, the more unsettling the truth becomes.

A couple of weeks ago, BP claimed it was not their accident, but that they would take responsibility for it.

Well, I'm not sure just whose accident that were saying it was, but the information out there certainly points to their finger prints.

On a Sixty Minutes interview of Mike Williams, a Transocean engineer on the Deep Water Horizon who barely survived the explosion, fire and swim to safety, Mr. Williams was very credible and very clear that BP was very culpable.

First there was the issue of the obviously too quick approach to the drilling at the behest of BP who was losing money because the drilling was taking too long.

Second, there was the issue of the broken annulor, a piece of apparatus that was supposed to be a safety valve of sorts. BP knew full well that the annulor was broken.

Third, there was the process of the expeditious closing of the well, which was determined by BP and which was the final straw in creating the explosion.

If these observations and accusations by Mike Williams are proven accurate, there is no way that BP can take the stand it was not their accident.

And, to be fair, they have stated publicly that they will make good for the damage done to the environment and to the industries, largely fishing and tourism, that are suffering and will continue to suffer from the spill.

Giving the company the benefit of the doubt, accepting that they will do as they have offered, the question still remains as who is really going to pay?

Clearly, it's the earth, once again sullied by man's continual quest to spent less time in making more money.

The question of whether it is wise to allow off shore drilling has been answered with Deep Water Horizon. But is any one listening?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

When Oil and Water Do Mix: A Sanibel Lodging Perspective

Although the oil spill is still far away from the pristine island of Sanibel, it is on the minds of everyone devastated by this disaster and wondering what next?

The efforts made thus far, do not seem to be working and the conversations about stopping off shore drilling need to be of more frequency and greater volume.

There is an excellent post about oil clean up alternatives at the Sanibel Sea School blog. In the post by Doc Bruce, he questions the very terminology "oil spill" with these words:

"I do know that we should stop calling it an oil ‘spill’. Over 200,000 gallons of oil are pouring into the Gulf of Mexico each day. The size of the surface oil slick has tripled in the past few days; it is larger than the state of Rhode Island. Broken pipes are spewing 8,300 gallons of oil in to the Gulf each hour – 138 gallons per minute. This is hardly a spill."

And he goes on to dissect the various, and seemingly bad, alternatives to clean up.

Though the situation is distressing to say the very least, and I am both worried about the environment short and long term, I also wonder if the spill does ever reach the Island the impact it will have on the economy as well as the impact it will have on the ecology. Sanibel really has no industry and the Island's financial health rests to a large degree on tourism. Vacation Rental agencies and offices are already amending their cancellation policies in the event that the "spill" reaches Sanibel Island, so rental guests can be assured that should the spill arrive and beaches officially closed, they will be refunded all but the reservation fee for their paid in full stay before arrival or unused portion of monies paid after arrival.

That, hopefully, is of some consolation to travelers, though not to
vacation rental owners, managers and the like.

One glimmer of hope regarding the possibility of oil reaching Sanibel shores is the merge of business with pleasure. There will be fewer vacationers if this happens, but there will, I must assume, be a sizable number of environmentalists, engineers, health care professionals and others assisting who will need to be on the Island.

One way this cross over of population can be facilitated is through the newly formed partnership of a vacation rental Facebook application, and a corporate housing web portal,
Second Porch and today announced a partnership to distribute and enable thousands of furnished rental property listings from to be seen and accessible via Second Porch’s integrated Facebook application and social vacation rental marketplace.

This "marriage" should not only enhance the potential for both companies, but for vacation rental owners as well.

I wish them the best, but do pray that this oil disaster is contained and that the relationship and its bearing on Sanibel becomes one of convenience and not one based on catastrophe!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Way to Help Sanibel and Wildlife on the Gulf Coast

The oil spill that continues to spill and the enormity of the damage that will be caused by this "accident" has made me relinquish my space to promote my properties and, instead, create a message with more meaning.

Though Sanibel is currently unaffected by the BP spill, we don't know for sure what will happen in months to come. We can only hope for the best.

But even with that hope, the reality is that wildlife through out the coastal areas will be injured, compromised and even destroyed.

At this moment, many organizations up and down the Gulf are not yet prepared for volunteer efforts, but in an email I received today, there was a cry for help.

In my sincere effort to pass on the message and offer readers of this blog a way to get involved, I am posting that message here.

Dear Friend,

The Roseate spoonbill is one of scores of Gulf Coast birds and hundreds of other species at risk..
Please donate now to support our recovery efforts.

The Gulf Coast oil spill is a rapidly evolving catastrophe and there is a lot we don't yet know about the full magnitude of the ecological devastation. But here is what we do know so far:
The oil is spilling at a current rate of more than 200,000 gallons of oil per day.

Recovery and restoration of the wetlands that harbor hundreds of species and provide a natural hurricane barrier will take years or even decades.

Even before the spill, Louisiana had lost more wetlands since the 1930s -- 2,300 square miles -- than the size of the state of Delaware, leaving the region particularly vulnerable to this oil spill catastrophe.

We're going to need a lot of help over the coming days, months and years to ramp up our coastal conservation and fisheries work to restore the Gulf Coast to full environmental health.

Here are three things you can do right now to provide assistance to our efforts:

Volunteer: Register to provide on-the-ground volunteer assistance with the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana or with National Audubon.

Engage Online: Check out our Oil Crisis Response page and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest news.

Donate Now: Support our coordinated oil spill emergency response efforts with a generous donation.
Our Emergency Response
We have deployed a number of EDF experts to the Gulf Coast to work with federal and local agencies, colleague environmental groups and local partners, including fishermen, local business, and members of the energy industry.

As you read this message, our team of EDF wetlands and marine scientists and experts are:
Coordinating response and recovery efforts among the many local communities and partners with whom we have developed long-standing relationships.

Working with our local partners and with federal officials to ensure that all possible steps are taken to ensure the safety of the 35,000 miles of oil pipelines and 4000 oil rigs currently in the Gulf.
Providing scientific expertise to federal and local agencies to determine how best to deploy restoration resources once the spill is under control.

Advocating at the federal and local levels for the funding necessary to properly clean up the ecological disaster and to promote restoration efforts.

EDF has been at work in the Gulf Coast regions for many years -- protecting and restoring critical wetlands, pioneering new sustainably fishing strategies, and developing productive partnerships with conservationists, business, and government.

We are committed to the full restoration of the fragile Gulf Coast and the affected wetlands and marine ecosystems.

It's true that the financial responsibility of the clean up rests legally and morally with the oil industry. However, there is still a very real and important role that EDF experts will play in the weeks and months to come.

Our thoughts and hopes are with the hard-working and beleaguered folks who make the Gulf Coast their home.
Thank you for your advocacy and support,Courtney TaylorCoastal Louisiana Project
P.S. If you cannot volunteer or afford a donation, here are
10 more things you can do to help.