Economy over Environment: The Limited Coverage of Louisiana's Oil Spill

Louisiana’s oil spill is releasing 42,000 gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, sure to threaten wildlife and resources.


It’s not hard to wonder why people are seemingly apathetic when it comes to environmental issues when there isn’t more focus going towards environmental emergencies that could cause severe degradation to natural resources and wildlife. Did you know that right now approximately 42,000 gallons of oil per day is pouring into the water just 36 miles from the Louisiana coast? You may have if you’ve known where to look, but sadly this environmental emergency of epic proportions isn’t receiving the media attention that it should be.

If you missed it above, let’s just revisit – yes, 42,000 gallons of crude oil is finding its way into Louisiana’s waterways each day now. The oil spill, which now measures approximately 42 by 33 miles, is leaking from a sunken offshore oil drilling ship in the Gulf of Mexico. Why would that be a big deal? After all, although the leak may not stop anytime soon, it’s not expected to get quite as bad as the Exxon Valdez incident. But tell that to the wildlife that inhabits that region of the Gulf of Mexico and others who rely on the resource for a clean source of water. Not to mention the living things on shore that will be impacted if the leak reaches shore by the end of the week as expected.

There are efforts being taken to curb the leak and sift the oil from the water, but that’s not really the point. The point is that this issue should be receiving far more coverage than it is. The reason it likely isn’t? Offshore oil drilling is a huge industry, too much chatter about the environmental impact might put it back in the forefront of the line of fire.

Is this an example of economy coming before the environment? That’s one perspective; you tell me and is that the way priorities should be aligned?

Image Credit: MarinePhotobank from flickr with a CC license

12 thoughts on “Economy over Environment: The Limited Coverage of Louisiana's Oil Spill”

  1. I suggest that even the first 68 million for cleanup is too little. BP should be fined for billions for not having an adequate EMERGENCY PLAN in place and then billiions more for the clean up. This is a disaster of monumental proportions. 11 workers died, a whole fishing industry has died, the eco system is dying and so is the marine life and wildlife. Obama has come across as if he just doesn’t care.

  2. About the oil spill in Louisiana. Far too little too late. This area should have been declared a disaster the first week it occurred. All oil and gas companies are required to have an emergency plan and contingency plan for each oil and gas site onshore and offshore. BP obviously did not have an EMERGENCY PLAN in place for this site. An emergency plan should be set up in case of an accident, incident or disaster. It outlines the steps the company will take to control the emergency. BP should have had 2 or 3 emergency plans in place for such a deep offshore well. It is not the workers that are at fault. They may have been saved too. It is BP management. They did NOT have an EMERGENCY PLAN in place. They thought they where above that and did not think ahead. There only interest was in making the billions that oil and gas companies are famous for. Definitely BP was not thinking of safety.

  3. norcalguy101

    It’s quite sad you have to use a file photo of another oil spill.

    The fact of the matter is there has been no serious contamination of the Louisana shore line from this event.

    Why? Because the prevailing gulf currents AND wind from the north-west is prevening the migration of fresh oil from reaching the beaches.

    Oil dries up. Crude oil is no different than paving asphalt or roofing tar. When it is exposed to air it begins to cure.

    The fact is the oil platform being 50 miles offshore and in a location where surface borne oil is not likely to reach the coast for days or weeks if at all, is that the oil has a chance to de-toxify its self.

    When crude oil is fresh it is lighter than water. In time as the lighter liquids evaporate the remaining solids become heavier than water, and then sink.

    Pleas stop making this incident into something far more than it is.

  4. This incident of disastrous proportions just goes further to illustrate that we, as a race, should have found alternates to fossil fuels a decade ago. Our dependence is killing this planet and only goes further to put money in the hands of individuals and corporations that don’t need or deserve it. My heart goes out to the people living in and near the affected area not to mention the millions of plants, animals and other living organisms that are or will be completely annihilated. It just makes me feel totally sick to my stomach that we are often left feeling completely helpless and vulnerable in situations like this.

  5. Stephanie – that is true now, but if you look at the date on the article you will see it was early in the week. At that time, which I note, the spill had been leaking at a rate of 42K gallons per day (between Thursday when it started and Tuesday when this was written). To rival the Exxon issue, it would have taken more than 200 days to get there. Since then the status has changed. The point being made at that stage is that it would be catastrophic and wasn’t receiving enough attention. Facts can only be presented based on what’s known or what’s expected at the time. In a circumstance like this, a lot can change in a week, proving why, perhaps more attention earlier…or a greater push from the public, could have rendered a faster solution to prevent what we’re now seeing.

  6. Beth Graddon-Hodgson

    John – no the photo is not from Louisiana, nor did I try to indicate that it was. The point was to illustrate WHAT WOULD occur if the spill made it to shore as expected, which has now taken place. And to top it off, there are still limited photos despite the impact..which further illustrates the point. You will also notice that I mention not that it’s getting NO coverage, but not compared to the coverage it deserves considering what an environmental catastrophe that it is. I have contacts in Louisiana who have actually had similar complaints. You may not believe it deserves further coverage, you’re welcome to that opinion. Not everyone agrees.

    Mark – definitely. And while it wasn’t on a scale like this this situation is reminiscent of the carp situation in a couple of the great lakes that we saw this past summer/fall. That’s a whole different debate, but again, it came down to profit of a thriving industry over life. That’s what needs to be further questioned.

    Gigi – agreed! This isn’t just a local issue. With greater exposure that this is happening, people are better mobilized to help make changes.

  7. I agree you should straighten your facts, this is expected to exceed the devastation of the Exxon spill. They don’t know how to cap off the leak, it may take up to 90 days to put a plan into action, and by that time, it will have released 18 million gallons of oil into the gulf… 8 million more than the Valdez accident. This is going to be catastrophic.

  8. Our enlightened friend John (who gives a crap) demonstrates the dire consequences of historical amnesia, or ignorance. One need only reference the social impacts of other major spill to answer his eloquent question. Off-shore drilling has been opened up on the Atlantic and Pacific shores. A suggestion real the House Committee on Natural Resources released a telling report in June 2008 appropriately titled “The Truth About America’s Energy: Big Oil Stockpiles Supplies and Pockets Profits.” In it the committee points out that there has been a sharp increase in the number of drilling permits issued to oil companies starting in the 1990’s and concludes that “there is simply no correlation” between the number of drilling permits issued and the price of gas. Any questions?

    1. The reason it doesn’t affect gas prices and why there is a ‘shortage’ is because the number of refineries allowed to operate is limited. It is indeed a big scam.

  9. Get your facts straight. It’s not the rig that is leaking it is the well head on the sea floor.
    It getting plenty of coverage, where it matters the most(the people in louisiana). Who gives a crap what anyone else thinks.

  10. Hi,
    I think this is terrible! I went to go see Oceans the new disney movie, the other day with some classmates. In the movie, it showed a diagram of oil leaking out of rivers in to vast oceans. If we don’t get people aware of what is happening to our water and our Earth soon we will not have a healthy Earth and that will lead to more problems. Please visit my environmental website:

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