107 days later, BP has declared a “desired outcome.” It appears the blown out oil well has been plugged up with the “static kill,” a procedure of pumping heavy mud and cement into a well and sealing it at least for the foreseeable future. BP hit another milestone before recent developments — stopping the largest oil spill in human history.

But we all knew the priority from day one was to recover as much profit oil as possible before shutting off the pipe. The next step is to deal with the litigation which for companies as large as BP, waiting people out may prove more beneficial than paying up. And truth be told not everyone has a legitimate claim. Nevertheless, many probably do.

So the hardest part for me to believe is the report that most if not all of the oil “has been recovered, burned, dispersed, evaporated, consumed by microbes or otherwise removed from the water,” according to the Washington Post. After all this, what is the status of the Gulf as a “living” body of water? Has it been embalmed?

The ever-cautious President Obama made an encouraging wait-and-see remark to the A.F.L.-C.I.O.:

“The long battle to stop the leak and contain the oil is finally close to coming to an end and we are very pleased with that….Our recovery efforts, though, will continue. We have to reverse the damage that’s been done. We will continue to work to hold pollutes responsible for the destruction they’ve caused.”

So let’s talk about the damages specifically to the fisheries and the foodshed. Here’s a quote from a report prepared by Renewing America’s Food Traditions (RAFT), an alliance of food, farming, environmental and culinary advocates striving to restore endangered culinary traditions and cultures and promote healthy and sustainable food production.

The “gloom and doom” that much of the media has emphasized since the spill is perhaps more dangerous to the seafood industry than the oil spill itself. Society at large needs to know now, more than ever, that Louisiana seafood is safe and available. Sure, some fishermen have chosen to work with the oil rigs and some fear that even temporary closures may put them out of business, but the majority is still working hard to supply the market.

— Richard McCarthy, founder of the Crescent City Farmers Market (New Orleans)
from Food Producers and their Place-Based Food at Risk in the Gulf Coast


The report was written by Gary Paul Naghan (founder of RAFT), Leigh Belanger, and Regina Fitzsimmons. The report doesn’t say you can’t eat the Gulf produce; the question is “What’s left?” The report includes a list of edible species and varieties at risk in the Gulf Coast foodshed labeled as endangered or potentially affected by the spill (“oil-damanged”). Some were already on the list before the blow-out.

Is it possible that food fear can do more damage to the fishing industry than the oil? Granted, people who depend on the waters for a living will have to “fish around” for better spots.

But what about those dispersants that were used to clean up the oil? I guess they worked, but at what cost? The EPA is saying the dispersants are “not more toxic than the oil.” Well, that also says, “not less toxic” too.

After all is said and done, President Obama’s cautious next steps will mean testing as part of the clean up. Solid verification wins out over weird science.