The US government is looking to rush new safety regulations into effect on the offshore oil industry so it can end President Barack Obama’s six-month moratorium on drilling early.
The Gulf coast region is suffering unemployment and loss of revenues following the Deepwater Horizon disaster. But with dolphins now moving in to feed on fish attracted by the cover the oil slick affords there are fears toxins are moving up the food chain;
“It’s time for an oil change. America needs to change its oil and its energy path and I think we need to ask Congress today to set a new agenda for our energy in this country. If we don’t do that we are going to simply put ourselves at greater and greater ecological and other risk. I mean this is our food supply. This is 20 to 30 percent of our total fishery in the U.S. and we are destroying it,” says the National Wildlife Federation’s Larry Schweiger.
The oil slicks are now huge, breaking up because of the weather, and with the hurricane season approaching the risk of them moving round Florida and up the east coast is rising.
It is too late for many places. Alabama beach is fouled, but some people are braving the filth to walk on the sands and swim, like Tom Rigdon from Mobile, Alabama;
“If it were so you couldn’t walk up and down the beach, I would not come. People should come to the beach. Spend their money. Help the economy.”
New rules for offshore drilling could be proposed as early as today, but they will come too late for the region’s wildlife. Some 300 birds have been cleaned and may survive, but many other species will be decimated.