More than 20 years after the Exxon Valdez oil spill
saturated the Prince William Sound, the U.S. coastline once again faces the disastrous effects of a massive crude oil spill.
As the Gulf's marine ecosystems suffer in silence, the oil sheen has now coated more than 1,800 square miles and the broken well continues to release 42,000 gallons per day. As the crippling effects of the BP spill are exposed
, many environmental activists continue to question the sensibility of environmental sacrifices made in the quest for petroleum. I can only hope this serves to end the debate about the dangers of offshore drilling.
For many Americans, the habit of pumping gasoline triggers nothing more than concerns about price gouging. Our vehicles have become status symbols — affirmations that we have achieved the American Dream. In the wake of another ecological catastrophe, perhaps we will further examine our methods for collecting fossil fuels for energy consumption.
That being said, there is no shortage of political tension about the future of Georgia's coastline. Talk of offshore drilling have been lingering in the city of Savannah for several months. Ironically, President Barack Obama, once a staunch supporter of alternative energy sources, lifted the ban that prevented East Coast oil exploration
. This exploration consists of soundwave testing on the ocean floor — a process that has been proven to disorient marine wildlife and dramatically affect fish populations.
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist has now publicly reversed his stance on offshore drilling after extensively reviewing the damage of the BP's Deepwater Horizon disaster. However, Georgia's activist groups are disturbed by the lack of concern expressed by Georgia politicians. Bill Sapp, senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center, sheds light on the permanent solution in a story by the Savannah Morning News: "The Deepwater Horizon was equipped with the latest technology and still this unprecedented spill has occurred. It just shows that the only way to protect the Georgia coast from a future oil spill is to not drill off our coast at all."
In closing, I can only stress that as Georgia citizens, we must not forget eco-crimes of the magnitude of the BP disaster, and take the time to become involved in the political maneuvers of our state representatives, particularly when the health of the natural world is at stake. It is our duty as tax-paying members of a capitalist society to hold our representatives accountable to constituents on a local, state, and national level — and don't forget the corporations that directly depend on our consumption. For the sake of the Georgia coast and its inhabitants, let us carefully review the risks posed by offshore drilling and fully recognize the fragile state of our ecosystems.