Should members of the LSU Board of Supervisors disclose who receives their scholarships?|
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|More at stake than money, politics|
It's far too early to say how badly an out-of-control oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico will affect Louisiana and points elsewhere.
We can say with a great deal of certainty, though, that the British Petroleum platform explosion of April 21 will forever alter our attitudes toward an industry that has created countless jobs, untold economic opportunities for millions of people and many, many headaches for Louisiana and her residents over the past century.
That BP remained powerless early this week to curb the flow of oil from an uncapped well deep in the Gulf reminded us that accidents in a business as dangerous as offshore oil and gas exploration can cause unimaginable problems for millions of people. What's scary is BP doesn't know how or when the well will be capped.
Still an uncertainty, the economic fallout from the accident will run into the billions of dollars. Fishermen, shrimpers, crabbers, the hospitality industry and so on can all but write off the year in light of the sludge that's washing ashore along the Louisiana coast. Who knows when it will get better down on the bayou and beyond?
Who knows how badly our fragile, precious marsh will be damaged by a product Mother Nature created long before any of us grasped for our first breath?
Who knows to what extent the cargo ships that utilize the Port of New Orleans will be affected by that nasty crude floating around in the Gulf?
Who knows if those pristine beaches along the Redneck Riviera—that's Alabama and Florida coasts for you transplants—will become disgustingly black, ruining a tourist season in an area of the country that basically relies solely on tourists to make the economy go there?
We shouldn't have been surprised, though, that plaintiffs attorneys reportedly greeted workers who escaped the burning platform when they landed by boat at Venice, a tiny community in southern Louisiana that serves as a gathering point for men who make a good living working offshore. The lawyers were there handing out their business cards, offering their legal services if someone wanted to sue somebody over something. Make no mistake. Attorneys have every right in the world to make themselves available to potential clients, and those potential clients need someone who'll look out for their best interests, especially over incident as horrendous as the one we've witnessed evolve over the past two weeks.
Already, we've seen the political stars align. The Left would have us believe that the BP accident was another example of big business riding roughshod over the environment. And the commoners, too. You'll have to excuse the liberals and their cohorts in the working press—they simply don't know any better.
Meanwhile, the Right was far too quick to point fingers at the Obama administration's lackadaisical response to the crisis. You'll have to excuse them. It's an election year in which anything and everything is fair game all in the name of regaining control of the Congress and causing as much grief and pain as possible for everything Obama advocates regardless of the circumstances. It's completely understandable why the Right jumped the gun. They most likely vividly recall how the media treated President Bush following Katrina.
Yet, one clear distinction exists between the BP accident and what occurred thanks to hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. That is BP has taken responsibility for the mishap and has pledged to pay to clean it up as well as compensate anyone who can produce a legitimate claim for why he or she should be paid in light of the accident. After all, BP can afford it. The company produced a $6 billion net profit in the first three months of the year.
Compare those circumstances to what we saw following the storms almost five years ago. For all practical purposes, the federal government was in control then. Need I say more?
Through it all, let us not forget that about a dozen men lost their lives when the rig blew on April 21. Workers are still unaccounted for, too.
It goes without saying that the families of the ones who died or remain missing probably have more on their minds at this time than who's going to clean up the mess, who's going to pay for it and what may come of all it.