I was walking on the beach the other day and it occurred to me that at this time last year, the fate of our water, coast and lifestyle was completely up in the air.
Oil had reached our beaches and we had no idea how much was coming or what kind of mess it was going to make.
A year later, in reflection, I have a few things to say about the whole debacle.
First and foremost...
BP, you suck! (eloquent, I know)
How dare you, as a company, spend all of your time and money figuring out how to drill that deep underwater without having SEVERAL backup plans, in place, the day you started drilling.
Second, the word "Spill" has bothered me from day one.
Millions of gallons of oil gushing into the Gulf is NOT a "spill". BP basically ignited an underwater volcano and then called it a spill. Idiots.
Then there's money.
"We've set up claim centers in every city along the coast so you can file your claim and BP will reimburse you for your financial loss."
Only half true.
Claim centers were set up, but the part about reimbursement? Total and complete BS.
I understand the need to regulate mass payouts like this because of fraud but after personally spending HOURS filing claims, talking with claim adjusters, and providing document after document I can say that filing a BP claim amounted to hours of my life spent Snipe Hunting.
We lost thousands of dollars - which was directly related to the oil volcano.
I even have letters from several of our clients stating that they were not spending marketing money which would have gone directly to us.
And we aren't the only ones. I can't tell you how many friends we have in this town alone who lost their business completely and are still waiting on money from BP.
Some folks got paid but most didn't.
Next on my list is the clean up process.
BP assured each community that they would hire locals to work on the oil clean up crews.
When the tar balls got here, 3 charter buses pulled into town and out piled a lot of people, hired by BP and brought in from Mississippi.
The Island King went to the office where locals were supposed to go to apply to clean the beaches and was told there was nothing available at that time.
The newspaper ran an article about the clean up crews. The people on the buses were there to pick up tar balls. Locals could take a two week course (set up by BP) - for a fee (paid to BP)- and then once you paid your money and passed the course you could work as a supervisor for the clean up crews.
Really? They wanted us to pay them to let us work?
And the clean up?
What a joke.
I didn't pick out these pictures in particular to make BP look bad. This is what EVERY picture I have looks like.
Dozens of workers would be at each site and it would take them HOURS to clean up a half mile section of beach.
I have never seen such a blatant waste of money in my life.
Paying people to sit around in the shade.
And not even local people either.
Finally, the effect this has had on the Gulf is still unknown.
I realize that Mother Nature is a powerful force and the Gulf can do a lot to heal herself but at the same time we have no idea what's laying on the bottom out there.
And who knows what the dispersant they used has done.
Is seafood safe to eat? My Mother says no and has stopped eating seafood completely.
In my heart I agree with her but I'm weak and I love seafood and haven't been able to give it up.
After all of that there is good news.
Our beaches are still beautiful. The sand is sugar white, the water is emerald green and there is no tar.
We're going to enjoy the beach this summer and thank God that what we thought might happen - didn't.