Last week I posted a comment on Facebook about how horrible the oil spill is, and how I am against off shore oil drilling in the gulf. A lot of people shy away from making political statements on Facebook because comments inflame people, angry words spill out, and sometimes friendships suffer.
I only had one person disagree with me and our friendship has survived based on an agree to disagree position. The offshore oil business is her “bread and butter” and I understand that. (Can you hear the but?) But I lived in the poorest county in Florida for years, and I know that their “bread and butter” has possibly just become bread and water. They won’t be able to afford the butter. Their children are barely dressed,health insurance is not in their budget – they are the shrimpers and oystermen of Franklin County Florida. We have a gulf ban on fishing all the way from the Panhandle through the Big Bend and continuing down to Sarasota. That is an enormous amount of shore line with all that gulf water slick with oil.
My “bread and butter” was affected back in the 90’s when I lived on St. George Island. I sold real estate – actually I did not sell much real estate because our beautiful beaches were a mess with tar balls and tar streaks from an oil spill. The beaches looked like elephants were roaming the island – elephants with diarrhea that is.
Worse than the unsightly beaches was the smell of rotting dead fish and the birds, the poor beautiful shore birds. The balance of nature is so fragile. Sea turtles hatch on the beaches, 1 in 1000 survive without environmental problems.
I did not sell much real estate for about 18 months.
Let’s talk dollars and maybe that will help people understand the impact this disaster is having on just Florida.
The statewide wildlife viewing activities generate more than $3 billion annually.
The impact on recreational fishing- $5 billion.
The impact on saltwater commercial fishing – $1 billion.
The dockside value of the fresh seafood harvested (the seafood that comes to tables all across the entire US) – $168 million.
The pounds of seafood harvested – $84 million.
These facts come from the Florida Department of Agriculture.
Tourism – well $65.2 billion is spent statewide.
82.5 million was spent by visitors in 2008.
$3.9 billion is in sales tax revenue from tourism.
Key West has a scuba diving business of about $45 million and a snorkeling business of $239 million.
IF let me stress this IF the spill gets caught in the powerful loop current of the gulf the oil could wind up on the beaches of the keys and then be swept north along the Atlantic Coast.
We are a seafood and tourism based economy and many of us not only want a ban on offshore drilling in our gulf – we want a world-wide ban. Our oceans are going to die if this is allowed to continue. How is that for everyone’s “bread and butter”? You are all going to be affected by this.
I am hardly an oil expert, I just know that this spill, this disaster should be screaming for a ban and it should be coming out of many many mouths.
About 1/3 of Florida’s population lives in coastal counties along the gulf – it is what makes us an beautiful place a desireable place to live and now we are under a State of Emergency. Vacationers are cancelling plans already and it is time to make those responsible pay.
Fishermen fish 7 days a week. They don’t take weekends off. There is a ban against fishing for the next 10 days -that’s two weeks of work for most other people.
When is the last time you took two weeks off without pay? And did it affect your lifestyle when you did? Most of us would suffer financially – try wrapping your head around this; it probably will go longer than 10 days. Who is going to reimburse these people or anyone else affected by a financial loss due to this huge oil spill? And when?