Photograph by Gerald Herbert, AP

“What appeared to be a manageable spill a couple of days ago after an oil rig exploded and sank off the Louisiana coast Tuesday, has now turned into a more serious environmental problem. The new leak was discovered Saturday, and as much as 1,000 barrels — or 42,000 gallons — of oil is leaking each day, Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry said. The sheen on the surface has grown, extending 20 miles by 20 miles Saturday — about 25 times larger than it appeared to be a day earlier, Landry said. “This is a very serious spill, absolutely.” – ABCNews.com

Now, regarding off-shore Atlantic coast drilling (geologists have stated that the most positive estimates indicate that there’s about 6 months worth of oil along the Eastern Seaboard):

“Tybee Island Mayor Jason Buelterman says, he trusts federal officials to make the right decision. “I think that with the technology we have available today, it can be done much safer than it was done in the past,” Buelterman says. “If those folks deem it to be safe, and I believe it is, then I think that we can support it.” – GPB.org

“State Rep. Jerry Keen (R-St. Simons Island) said he is wary of anything that could potentially harm the coastal environment in his district. But Keen said he believes technology has evolved to the point where oil drilling and recovery can be done without environmental damage.” – AJC.com

“As of April 20, according to the Myrtle Beach Sun News, seven companies have already applied for permits to explore for oil and natural gas along all or part of the Southeast coast, including South Carolina in each of the seven cases.”– TheColumbiaStar.com

Okay… now go back to the first link and read it again. Apparently Buelterman and Keen don’t read the news.

The barrier islands of Glynn County alone attract more than 2 million visitors a year, who pump $1 billion annually into the economy. Savannah attracts about 7 million visitors who spend about $2 billion each year. Now imagine the economics of tourism and fishing all along eastern coast. This – and our coastal environment – is what we stand to lose… for six months of oil.

Alex Kearns

Alex Kearns

Alex writes for a variety of national and international publications. A relative newcomer to the United States, she co-founded her town's first environmental organization (The St. Marys EarthKeepers, Inc.). In turns bemused, confused, entranced, frustrated and delighted, she enjoys unravelling the eternal enigma that is the Deep South.