TIM AJMANI – The Corsair
April 20, 2010. People in Pensacola would probably remember exactly what they were doing when the news hit that day. I wasn’t living in Pensacola at the time. I can’t even remember what I was doing, or if I even knew what was happening. The only thing that was visibly noticeable for me personally after moving here was that most BP gas stations were out of customers. After living here for eight months, I’ve only began to realize what the impact of the infamous BP Oil Spill meant for not only Pensacola, but the entire Gulf Region.
For those who don’t really know the whole story of the Oil Spill, here is a general summary. On April 20, 2010, a BP operated oil rig exploded a little south of the coast of Louisiana. The oil rig burned for about two days and sank on April 22. An oil leak was discovered at the site of the explosion on the same day, quickly becoming the biggest spill of oil ever in the area of the United States. The spill became the topic of nearly every news and talk show on television. Oil was first discovered near Pensacola Beach on a barrier island in the beginning of June, and on the 23rd, oil was seen on the beach itself, as well as the Gulf Islands National Seashore.
Honestly, I haven’t seen a company become the most hated that quickly. BP was the enemy of everyone on the Gulf coast, and possibly the entire nation. The impact it had on families, communities, and the environment was stunning. At Saenger Theatre in downtown Pensacola this past Monday, I attended a showing of the Film “Saving Pelican 895.” The film’s director, Irene Taylor Brodsky, who attended the premiere showing made a great point in that, while it didn’t provide finalization to the oil spill, it provided a little glimpse into the recovery efforts and healing process of the Gulf coast.
The BP oil spill brings to light the dangers of offshore drilling, and the stunning reality that we really don’t have a plan, as a nation, in case of a huge disaster of this magnitude. Our protocols are meant for the expected to occur, and the exact opposite occurred for the oil spill. Just think, it took four to five months to finally cap the well and stop the leaking of oil into the Gulf. The disaster brings the question that if another spill were to happen, how the process of stopping it would be any different. Like the earthquake and resulting nuclear crisis in Japan of last month, the Oil Spill changed the world’s view on how much we can be affected if the unexpected happens.