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Saturday, June 5

The Future?

This is by no means an exhaustive treatise.

Let’s examine the ramifications of BP’s “little accident.” Even if no more escapes, estimates of 500,000 to one million gallons of crude oil are now in the Gulf heading to Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama on its way to Florida, around and up the East Coast into the North Atlantic. Some will continue to Britain (irony there!) and the North Sea, a significant amount turning south toward Spain with an alarming amount continuing toward Africa but with most heading back across the north coast of South America endangering the island paradises in the Caribbean before returning to the western Gulf to start again.

So many things will be affected both directly and indirectly that only time will enumerate them all. We’ll start with the fishing industry in the Gulf.
I’m not going to spout figures since there’s no way of knowing how many people will lose their livelihood because of BP. The direct impact of this effect on fishing will be a shortage of seafood from the Gulf. Much of that is consumed by those living and visiting the Gulf, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida.
With the immense reduction of seafood from the Gulf, distributors have two choices; import seafood from the West and East Coast at higher prices or close up because it’ll be too expensive to supply the affected areas in the long run. Either way, prices will rise atrociously. Direct result of no supply will be unemployment first in the fishing industry then the food service industry. Once those people lose their jobs and consequently have no money to inject into the local economy, other businesses will begin to suffer. If people don’t spend money, businesses fail. What a novel concept.
With more people out of work, those lucky enough may be able to collect unemployment to get them some relief fro a while. But as we’ve all seen the last year, health insurance will be a thing of the past for them since most will not be able to afford health care and basic living expenses. Lifestyles will change drastically. Mortgage payments will stop, banks will increase interest and families will lose homes. Business vultures will buy up the homes for pennies on the dollar and with tax breaks hope to keep them long enough to make a killing when the economy turns around. (Will anyone live that long?)
Another industry that will succumb to BP’s “little accident” is the tourist industry. A substantial number of people in the coastal south depend on tourists from elsewhere spending money. But what would induce people to come to beaches covered in oil; beaches with dead fish and birds. The result will only be more business failures and more layoffs and the domino effect will grow.
An incidental suffering business will be cruise lines. I don’t know how many owners of Carnival, Princess Cruises and other lines will want their investments subjected to BP’s oil accident. Nor will the tourists want to see and smell that terrible odor while sunning themselves on the decks of expensive pleasure ships.
Other businesses that don’t directly depend on fishing will continue for a while unaffected. Other oil rig workers will still get paid for their work but will soon find fewer goods available. Businesses that rely on water transportation will find the effects sooner as access to harbors and rivers becomes restricted. That’ll result in less production and layoffs because enough product can’t be produced and delivered.
All isn’t dark for all fishermen however, just those in the Gulf. The fishing fleets on the west and east coast will probably double their efforts to glean as much as possible. The businesses especially in the east and northeast will boom for a while, until the oil reaches their ranges.
All of this presumes no weather problems. More on that later.
Next time we’ll explore the last days of Florida’s Tourist industry.

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