May, 2010:

BP Oil Spill – A Box Office Flop?

The Gulf of Mexico BP oil spill remains the biggest news story today. The economic impact to our area could be significant, not a result of any environmental impact, but rather the result of a runaway news media, unwilling or unable to curtail its overwhelming obsession with the sensationalization of this event. 

My God, the St. Petersburg Times (who by the way is just left of Karl Marx) ran a story today titled  ”Oil Spill May Be Worse Than Recession”.  An AP story today states that “The Gulf Coast oil spill could eclipse Exxon Valdez”. No wonder tourism is down. I’ll be willing to bet that another today story ”Gulf oil spill: Tar balls found in Florida Keys not from Deepwater Horizon slick” will get little exposure.

OK, I don’t want to waste a lot of time on the drive-by media. The real point is, what can we along the Emerald Coast do about it? 

In a nutshell, we have a situation that may NEVER impact the Emerald Coast. The hysteria so far is not the result of any actual negative impact on the mainland, but rather the fear that it might. No one ever mentions that it may be just as likely to NOT impact us.

The following points may help put things in perspective:

 1.   The Deepwater Horizon is estimated to be spewing an amount of crude that would fill an Olympic swimming pool every three days. After a period of one month, that would equate to what? TEN Olympic size swimming pools? The Gulf of Mexico is HUGE! That is like ten people urinating in an Olympic pool on the 4th of July.  (Apologies for that analogy)

 2.  Back in 1979, Ross Perot’s deep water rig Ixtoc Uno blew out in the south end of the Gulf. It pumped an estimated 140 MILLION GALLONS of crude into the Gulf over a nine month period. Does anyone even remember it?  Did it destroy any ecosystems? Yes, some oil washed up on the South Padre Texas beaches, but it was cleaned up and life got back to normal.  Tourism survived, property values held their own and the ecosystem was not significantly impacted. 

BTW, at the current rate of flow at Deepwater Horizon, it would take until the year 2021 to rival the amount spilled at Ixtoc Uno in the Gulf in 1979!!

 3.  It is estimated that many millions of gallons of crude leech up naturally through the Gulf sea bed every single year. Where does everyone think all that crude  has been going for all these years? On the beaches? Into the estuaries  of Louisiana? Not!

Okay, granted, this is a serious event, and we don’t want more oil in the Gulf  waters, but it is simply not the end of life as we know it on planet Earth. Whatever the impact may be, we will deal with it quickly and then life goes on, much to the chagrin of the many attorneys, environmental scientists, Hazmat specialists, government contractors and news media that are now seeing green. While I just hate to disrupt all these dreams of multi-billion dollar verdicts and lucrative government contracts  that are dancing in their heads, someone out there in the media should at least be willing to consider the very real possibility that this will not manifest into the greatest environmental disaster of all time. 

If this were a Hollywood movie,  I would not invest a dime.  It just may be a  box office flop.