My sister lives in a small town in Louisiana, and while the rest of the world may have moved on from the BP oil spill story, she and her neighbors have not. In the South, the local news is packed with firsthand accounts of fisherman pulling in nets of dead, oil-soaked crabs, recreational boaters bumping into dead dolphins, and (pictured above) massive fish kills that extend as far as the eye can see.
The fish kill in Bayou Chaland last week occurred only days after an oil-soaked tide hit the marshes, but the Louisiana Department of Wildlife & Fisheries declared that there is no connection, and that the kill resulted from unseasonably warm weather.
The thing is, its always unseasonably warm in Louisiana in September. And while government officials are quick to point out that fish kills are common in Louisiana, none of those officials would deny the unusual characteristics of this event.
Fish kills, when they happen, generally consist of a hundred or so of one particular species. In this kill the numbers are in the millions, consisting of nearly every known species — from crabs and stingrays to eels and myriad fish species. Even a dead sperm whale (from a resident population that was said to have lived near the Macondo Well location) was found in the water.
From what my sister says, one of the most common questions being asked in the small communities impacted by the oil spill is, "How stupid do they think we are?"
BP and the government officials who seem to be covering for them would have us believe that the worst of the oil spill is over, but it doesn't take a genius to put two and two together. It will be decades before the marsh ecosystems of Louisiana will truly recover. So let's stop pretending it's not BP's fault.