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For many, it's hard to grasp how big the BP oil disaster is and how long the ecosystem and surrounding communities will suffer. For Gulf Coast residents – those directly affected by the spill – imagining the possibilities is nearly impossible.
"Emotionally, we’ve grown numb to it," said iReporter James Amerson. "It's surreal."
Amerson, a lifelong Pensacola, Florida, resident, has documented the effects of the oil slick on his community from the beginning. He's photographed poignant messages in the sand, residents facing off with BP representatives, sandy-white beaches marred by oil boom and tar balls, and Coast Guard helicopters flying above. He lives on the Escambia Bay waterfront, and says it's unbelievable to witness a major news story right outside his front door.
When he's not out with his camera, Amerson can be found at the hair salon he's owned and operated for 20 years. Although many local businesses have suffered from a lack of tourists, he says the majority of his clientele are local residents.
If the oil disaster worsens, though, some residents may be forced to move elsewhere to survive. Amerson says he can't bear to see that happen. "When the residents leave, it's going to affect us all," he explained.
For Amerson, taking photographs of the scene around town has helped him to cope with the disaster. "I need to be able to do something," he said. "iReport is helping me get through this."
Editor's Note: This blog post is part of a series of profiles of Gulf Coast residents and visitors directly affected by the oil disaster. If you'd like to share your story, you can upload photos and videos to CNN iReport.
Thank you Katie!
Obama proposes a 3rd party to administer the BP funds. With the past history of mismanagement of administering financial programs in the banking industry, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, etc. I'd hate to see how anyone Obama designates would administer these funds.
The oil disaster is truly a disaster. Nevertheless it gets more attention than things like soldiers dying in Afghanistan. That is why I am numb to any new oil news. All I know is that government is the only solution here.
It's only the "Redneck Riviera". No self-respecting progressive would be caught dead over there.
This is why El Presidente isn't too concerned about it.
Besides - who couldn't use a beach that comes with unlimited tanning oil!
On a serious note, I am disgusted with how this is being handled. Where is Greenpeace? Where is the National Audobon Society? Where are all the usual suspects who come out of the woodworks whenever someone drops a candy wrapper on the ground?
Where is the leadership?
This is truly a disaster but I just can't help feeling that people are over reacting. I saw this ireporters video on the beaches and the way he describes it you would think the tar balls cover the beach in a foot think mat of oil but what we see could have been cleaned up by the ireporter himself in under an hour. I mean come on is that what we have become, a nation of cry babies? The disaster has happened and continues to happen and this ireporter says "we are so beat up right now" from what? A few tar balls on the beach? Put down the camera pick up a rake and clean those tar balls up. Don't wait for someone else to do it just step up and do it yourself, if you have time to film this and blog about it then you have time to start cleaning.
My wife has come up with a great idea. Why doesn’t the Government or BP set up one or more collection stations and pay people for collected oil. In this way fishermen and others would go out as individuals and collect the oil from the oil spill from anywhere they can find it and would turn it in. In exchange for their work a “bounty” could be paid to these individuals and it would help them mitigate some of their losses. At the same time it would put hundreds of people to work cleaning up the mess and provide salvaged oil for refining and future use. This is “black gold” we are talking about.
oh yes...government is the answer....LETS JUST THROW MONEY AT IT...that has solved everything in the past. we all know that the tax increase the government would use to solve the problem would also be great for the rascist, ignorant middle class families, its just what our glorious leader comrade obama needs to crush those property owner's ignorant wills. then when our glorious leader takes control of the energy industry, we can all work in the dark towards the greater good.
yes, im a cynic, yes im being sarcastic and yes im a libertarian...knowing the liberals who read this, you all will make pathetic assaults on whatever words i misspelled, and youll insult my inteligence because of a few grammatical errors. however, one thing is a fact and that is big government has never been the solution. it failed in the soviet union, and the only reason china is an economic power house is because the chinese have sense enough to leave their economy to the chinese businessman.
the US government was slow and clumsy during hurricane katrina, it has failed to lower gas prices, its failed to reverse the downward spiral of the economy, its failed with the oil spill.
government when controlled by the people is effective, it brought us out the depression during the 1930's and brought electricity and jobs to the rural south due to programs like TVA and the CCC. however, that was 80 years ago when politicians had more in common with the common man.
howver, most politicians now have ben career politicians since graduating harvard, and have nothing in common with the average american. which is why Obama insists that the middle class is ignorant and racist because we dont agree with his socialist agenda.
anyone who has read this all the way through, i salute you. most people will have called me an ignorant tea party member and moved on. yes, government at the right time, in the right hands can be helpful for the people, thats undeniable. but its also undeniable that the average politician, both republican and democrat, has nothing in common with the average american. they all went to college, they all have picture perfect families, and 90 percent of them were lawyers before entering politics...i think both parties are the same, both are corrupt, and i think we need more working men and women in offices, more business owners, doctors, soldiers, and more scientists in office and less lawyers.
I like the idea of cleanup people being paid for the amount of oil collected. I have been watching the news reports that show workers doing cleanup. If this is the fastest these workers can go, and the best job they can do, we are really in trouble. it wont be cleaned up in our lifetime.
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hy are CNN's reporters in Pensacola talking about pizza parlor owners that ALREADY RECEIVED $10,00 in compensation from BP and not in Louisiana? Your picture sir, would be full of oil if you were standing here in Louisiana. For us, its not just about people not visiting because they "fear the oil might appear"... for us Louisiana the oil has ALREADY come ashore and has YET TO BE CLEANED. Sure, we don't have tourist industries with pizza parlors but we are suffering from an ACTUAL ENVIRONMENTAL disaster. NOT a possible one. So why isn't CNN sending reporters to talk /blog about the irrecoverable condition of our coastline?? Sure, Pensacola may be the central focus of the current monetary claims (and they are suffering), but Louisiana's environment is ACTUALLY destroyed... ALREADY DESTROYED. Our coastal residents have lost the RESOURCES they depend on to earn a living. Will someone please report on this? Everyone forgets to mention how hard it is to rebuild Federally protected wetlands.. how hard it is to rebuild the land you depend on, I do mean the actual physical land we depend on, to earn a living.
If some company accidently destroyed the wheat fields or dairy farms of an American farmer, or in an entire US state, would CNN you be focusing on the grocery stores that lost on wheat/dairy revenues???????? I just can't believe y'all, CNN and especially you...how could you report on this oil leak while filming on a beautiful and, AS YET UNAFFECTED BEACH in PENSACOLA?
Y'all rarely lose sight of the issue, the "heartbeat" of those affected. But with this... y'all need to LEAVE FL and get to the areas already damaged, already suffering, already destroyed and bring that to light. Start asking some tough questions about the environmental damage already done and not about "stigmas"! Americans' own property ALREADY irrecoverably destroyed...with no set environmental clean up plan in progress. Florida can recover from the damn STIGMAS, consumers come back. Why focus on that when there is ACTUAL environmental damage that no one, and no part of $20bill can easily repair...we need help. FOCUS ON THAT.
We don't walk outside our homes and see some lawyer with $20billion. WE walk outside our home and see OIL covering everything and no one is teaching us and/or helping us figure out how to clean it up. Even if BP did give me money, I still would have no idea how to get rid of the oil on my property...how to get my land back to the way it was. CNN is always asking viewers "How can you help?" Well, CNN, maybe y'all need to reflect on that question.
A COASTAL LOUISIANA RESIDENT
Use nature's own calcium deposits like white blood cells and make a wire bandage to allow the calcium to grow around the leak stopping it quickly, naturally, and completely.
I have been listening to everybody and their mother blame everyone else on every news channel about the gulf oil disaster over the last few weeks. I must say, I'm extremely disappointed in mankind. How can we allow highly educated experts, with credentials a mile and a half long, talk us into deep water oil harvesting without realizing the value of a working shut-off valve. The last I looked, just about every toilet has one, so why not a deep water well?
Rather than pointing the finger and spinning the disaster for political reasons, these “experts” should consider uniting to resolve this disaster now before Klaatu pays us a visit to save earth.
I live in Minnesota and i Love seafood. I have been following this story from the begining. I live with a condition that has impacted all organs in my body. I am just 21 years old and have had 3 kidney surgeries (may have to have more in the future, possible of a kidney transplant) There is no cure for the condition I have however, I do believe that what I have to say hopefully can be enlightening to all of you on the gulf coast. It probably won't be the best thing you have heard but I am writing this not for myself but for all you gulf resident's sake. It wasn't til about last year that I decided that I have a goal and that is to visit every single state within the united states before i die. It is obvious this catastrophe and one of the most embarassing moments now within US history and unfortunately it was the beautiful gulf that once again has had to deal with this BS. I will not stop eating seafood because of lack of knowledge and stupidity due to the corruptive government system. I also believe that I have no right to say that I can imagine what it is like to deal what you deal with because truth be told, I cazn't. God bless all of you on the gulf coast and the 11 people who lost there lives due to the greed and selfishness of oil companies. My support is with you all down there and I have yet to visit you and that will not change. I will visit the gulf no matter what.
The "I'm Tired and I Give Up" attitude isn't going to make this situation better for anyone. How about more positive articles about HOW WE CAN ASSIST!? This situation may be horrid, but this is what life has handed us; and the call to action has begun. Get busy and help. You'll have less time to complain, and you might just help someone else survive this mess.
With the high unemployment rate why can't Obama authorize to have 1,000 people to go down there and help with the oil spill and pay these people 20.00 an hour!!!
One has to wonder who was the Chief Chartered or Professional (Mechanical) Engineer of the firm who actually designed & is operating the oil rig & the opinion of the Governing Bodies of his profession as to competence?
Prof M H Settelen
As sick as I get, daily, when I see how much this oil spill is hurting the Gulf and its people, one man (Tony Hayward) is not the total blame for the accident and one man (Pres. Obama) is not responsible for stopping the flow of oil. It is very tragic and scary, but we need to come together as a nation and stop pointing fingers!
The fact is the well is a mile down under great pressure, the oil in the ground has greater pressure and its not going to stop until it equelizes hence maybe by August they can have it under control
I haven't read this anywhere,so I'll write it here. We surely must know that the oil industry "owns" most of the members of Congress, so who are they kidding on who is going to pay for the oil cleanup? We are!!!! The next day after Obama's speech, the gas pump price jump $.15. That price increase became the universal increase for all the other gas distributors in our area. BP can say all they want about paying the money, but in the end they will still make a high profit. The whole oil industry will have high profits. Another thing why did this "Accident" happen not too soon after the announcement that expanded drilling was going to be permitted in the Gulf area? I'm sorry,but I believe that BP didn't want more oil drilling for that would increase the flow of oil into the market thereby causing the price of oil to decrease. The oil industry is one big "Monopoly" and with Congress as the enforcer they have nothing to fear. We are no longer a Country of the people, for the people, by the people. Oh well!!
Let no one forget that the Conservative voters of the Gulf States have sent a solid block of government-hating, corporation-loving Conservatives to Congress for fifty years. For two generations, those Neanderthals have worked tirelessly to weaken every regulation on corporate behavior. For half a century, they have opposed, blocked, gutted, or subverted every anti-pollution regulation, drilling regulation, workplace safety regulation, reporting regulation, wage regulation, and inspection regulation. They vote to reduce the number of inspectors, reduce research, reduce enforcement, and reduce penalties for corporate misbehavior. Global corporations provide them with bribes, campaign contributions, pretty girls, and really great jobs in case they ever lose an election.
Corporate money is used to finance phony “scientific research” which “proves” that global warming is a myth, that air pollution is caused by cows, that tobacco does not cause cancer, that the “free” market is self-regulating, and that government is incompetent, incapable, evil, and insane by nature. Conservatives in Congress quote these phony findings as if they actually believed them to be true instead of knowing them to be outrageous falsehoods. Only conservative voters are naïve enough to believe that crap.
So welcome to the “free” market, my fellow Americans. Unemployed Southerners are now “free” to move to Arizona and pick crops. In a few years, they will have saved enough to send for their families.
We should put an extra tax on Republican voters and use that money to clean up the Gulf. They are more responsible for this mess than BP. After all, we ALL knew that BP would cheat and cut corners wherever they could, just like every other corporation. Conservatives wink knowingly at corporate corner-cutting and roll their eyes at “tree-hugger” imposed regulations, which are invariably described by them as pointless red tape. Every corporation that is not closely regulated will always shave points, cut corners, and bribe rather than comply.
I would like to see more coverage of the media blackout that BP & our government are still imposing according to an Associated Press letter sent to President Obama and made public just yesterday. Youtube has several videos of reporters being harassed and threatened by BP security, why does CNN remain silent about this.
BP says it cares about you Little Small people. The Ceo doesn't want to step on you!
How to stop gulf oil leak, ask an engineer to look at this.
Take 3x3x1/2, or 6x6x1/2 inch tube steel and build a rectangular frame with the inside of frame a few inches wider than the flanges that would extend from a few inches below the bottom flange to 3 or 4 ft above the top of the leaking riser, on the bottom of the frame put 4 hydraulic cylinders on all sides pointing inward, and on the top center of the frame put a bigger hydraulic cylinder with a tapered metal plug a few inches round at the bottom to 1 or2 thousands of an inch bigger than the inside diameter of the riser, looking downward.
This outfit can be lowered over the leaking riser pipe and the bottom cylinders all activated inward to get a tight grip on the riser just below the bottom flange, after this activate the top cylinder to shove the plug into the pipe, the taper should take any deformalities out of the pipe for a tight seal. This can be done by using the underwater robots. Thanks randy
A way to help in the Gulf Coast area: Get in your car and drive in for a day or two. Eat, drink, sightsee. spend money like nothing has happened. The area needs your tourism, not your weeping an wailing and worrying who's to blame. Even a day trip will help. They are not lepers down there. Go, spend, and you'll have fun. Even a bad day at the beach, beats the other stuff you might be doing!
Not to sound insensitive, but judging by how everyone responded to Katrina and "they knew how to handle a hurricane", I'd hate to see what people are doing for this.
Why not blame George Bush he is guilty of everything else isn't he? There is enough blame to go around and what we need is a solution not more anger and threats. I live in Florida and been there since 1976 and they have been pumping oil off our coast for ever and no one complained until this tragic explosion tool 11 lives. Wake up people stop the name calling and back biting. Contrary to some we are not all red necks down here and people from up north havent had a problem visiting for vacations. Do you really think BP blew the oil rig up on purpose? It was an accident! Tragic but still an accident and those that buoycot the BP gas stations are only hurting the individual owners which happen to be their neighbors. Lets find a solution and fix the blown out well then let the legal system do its job.
What worries me the most is that most people come to our Gulf Coast for 2 things, our beautiful beaches, and fishing, so by eliminating both, what's left? I wanted my 3 year old daughter to be able to see the beauty that we ALL take for granted, and we've all grown accustomed to seeing. This tragedy is just beginning, and we haven't come close to seeing the worst of it. I just pray mother nature holds off on the hurricanes, that's a whole different ballgame right there.
By the way a poster above referred to us as the 'Redneck Riviera', that does NOT include P-cola, lol. That's Alabama and Miss. We're just the Emerald Coast.
I am having great difficultalty in just getting in tuch with the right person, that can informt me, how I can tell Anderson Cooper that I have a fix for the Gulf Oil Spill.
16800 Gulf Blvd, North Redington Beach,FL 33708.
My Phone: 727 397 1843
There is one primary concern, and that is that all life as we know it on earth stems from our oceans. BPs new guy in charge of clean up promises he will be there until the job is done...how many lifetimes does he plan on living? Even when the oil is cleaned off the beaches the sand will still be contaminated. Just cause you can't see it doesn't mean it isn't there. It all revolves around the almighty dollar for that company...sadly, even though this disaster is so life altering for so many souls, both human and animal, they will still cut corners to save their budget. How ironic that the relief well will be finished the day their quarterly profits are to be announced? My heart breaks daily for those who live in the Gulf...I pray for you daily that you can overcome such devistation and heartbreak. And I pray for our president to get off his ass and make the right decisions. He really needs to grow the backbone needed for this job. And someone needs to tell our VP that the Gulf is more than just a photo opportunity.