Oil Spill Headed for Florida Keys Like a Runaway Train, Price of Goods Will Rise Nationwide
May 4, 2010
(ChattahBox)—The effects of the Deepwater Horizon Gulf oil spill are far-reaching, both environmentally and economically, as residents in Florida, North Carolina and the rest of the country are about to find out. Scientists are concerned the oil slick will soon reach the Gulf Loop Current off the shore of Louisiana. And if that happens, the toxic oil will travel to the sensitive ecosystems and coral reefs of the Florida Keys and the rich marshlands of Cape Hatteras, like a runaway train. From there, the slick will travel all along the Eastern seaboard, killing wildlife and polluting the waters and rich fishing grounds for years to come.
And that’s not all. The oil slick could soon affect the busy shipping lane in Louisiana, in which everyday goods, such as coffee, grain, fruits and vegetables are unloaded into the U.S. As a result, the prices of basic commodities will rise for the entire country, during a time of a deep recession and high unemployment rates.
The oil slick is expected to contaminate the Louisiana shore today, coating birds and other wildlife in the thick crude oil, and decimating coastal tourist areas. And death is already evident in the Gulf waters, with scores of dead jelly fish washing up on shore.
But all eyes are now on the Gulf Loop Current, which would deliver the deadly sludge to the waters and beaches of Florida and beyond within a week:
“These oceanographers are carefully watching the Gulf Loop Current, a clockwise swirl of warm water that sets up in the Gulf of Mexico each spring and summer. If the spill meets the loop —the disaster becomes a runaway. “It could make it from Louisiana all the way to Miami in a week, maybe less.” said Eric Chassignet, director of the Center for Ocean Atmospheric Prediction Studies at Florida State University. “It is pretty fast.”‘
The oil slick is about 30 to 50 miles north of the Gulf Loop Current, and shifting Southern winds are predicted to move the spill towards the fast-moving current:
“‘I looked at some recent satellite imagery and it looks like some of the oil may be shifted to the south,” said Maul, a professor at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Fla. “If it gets entrained in the loop, it could spread throughout much of the Atlantic. In fact, new animation from a consortium of Florida institutions and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, predicts a slight southward shift in the oil over the next few days.”
Scientists are worried that the oil slick could choke off the life from the more than 6,000 protected coral reefs in the Florida Keys.
And the near closing of the busy Louisiana shipping lanes is even more imminent:
“Those nowhere near the Gulf who drink coffee, eat shrimp, like fruit or plan to buy a new set of tires, could also end up paying for the disaster. Several river boat pilots said the edge of the slick Monday was 15 to 20 miles off the Southwest Pass, where ships headed to New Orleans enter the Mississippi River.”
“A total shutdown of the shipping lanes is unlikely. However, there could be long delays if cargo vessels that move millions of tons of fruit, rubber, grain, steel and other commodities in and out of the nation’s interior are forced to wait to have their oil-coated hulls power-washed to avoid contaminating the Mississippi. Some cargo ships might choose to unload somewhere else in the U.S. That could drive up costs.”
Photo Credit: Florida Keys Best