June 20, 2010

A Glimpse of the Impact

Posted: 09:50 PM ET

By Patrick Oppmann
CNN All Platform Journalist

I spent about 30 days covering the Gulf Oil spill and it only just gave me a glimpse into how profoundly the region is being impacted. Traveling from South Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle I talked with people whose existences were being completely upended.

There’s very little you can say to someone who has spent their life working in an industry and then are informed from one day to the next that they can’t do that job any more. Whether its the fishermen who catch the fish we eat in restaurants or the people who rent us condos on the beach in Florida the pain is going to be widely felt. It's not something that a check from an oil company or the government will make go away.

The moment that sticks in my head was when blobs of oil first came ashore on Dauphin Island, AL and a seven year boy ran by me screaming for his mom. As he went by, he held up his hands, both were covered in oil.

Filed under: Gulf Oil Spill

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Saleh   June 20th, 2010 11:42 pm ET

Good Morning,
All Americans must know that this disaster happened because the America policy in supporting Israel, Many kids died in Gaza because of hanger and no medicine or food or electricity or good water to drink, no one of us (we or you) can live under the current situation in Gaza but they are suffering. NO ONE IS HAPPY BECAUSE THIS DISASTER IS HAPPINGING IN AMERICA, ALL OF US WANT THIS OIL TO STOP COMING OUT (INSHA'A ALLAH), but we believe that when America supported Israel when Israel killed many people in 'Free Gaza ship' that was the American Stamp and Approve to continue this disaster. Only Justice is going to stop this disaster (And some people said that pray is going to stop that) no no no, how they will pray to God and they are Killing his people 'slaves' in Gaza.

Smith in Oregon   June 21st, 2010 12:14 am ET

After Hundreds of Millions of Gallons of toxic, poisonous and carcinogenic crude Oil has poured into the Gulf of Mexico, what's another 2 Million gallons per day that a recovery ship is not on station? That region is poisoned for many decades to come, the methane gas alone has created an enormous Dead Zone where available Ocean oxygen is far to low to support aquatic life. Toxic and Poisonous to swim in, Toxic to breath, Toxic to eat and smell that Republican greed lofting in the sea breeze! The seafloor is covered with dead and dying fish and yet already there are hawkers out pushing the seafood on unsuspecting people.

Dead is Dead!

Nalani   June 21st, 2010 1:01 am ET

This is disgusting and makes me sick. We might as well burn everything. Let the Oil companies have their way and they will destroy our planet. All of this crap makes me sick to my stomach.

forrest gardens   June 21st, 2010 2:20 am ET

I work for the California Department of Fish and Game, Office of Spill Prevention and Response as an executive assistant. Not a lot of states have an advance oil response division as qualified as ours. It would be my biggest fear to have something like this happen to California. We're doing everything we possibly can to help the Gulf.

I hope I don't any heat from this post but I had to say something...I can't stand watching mother nature get raped like this.

Annie   June 21st, 2010 9:40 am ET

It's not the American people who should bail out the American people. It's BP's and the UK's job to do so. The question should be why oh why is our gov't allowing BP to not provide to those affected by this horrendous spill. What pact, treaty or contract has our gov't made with foreign countries to tie Obama's hands in this way? Obama cannot or will not have BP step aside so other countries and companies help find a solution to our coastal disaster, why? Tony Hayward had a good weekend because BP knows the pressure is off, that's obvious. Tony Hayward should have been arrested after showing contempt at the congretional hearings. Wake up America, there's more to this oil leak. This is their chance to push for alternative fuels, this is the way to make the "change" Obama campaigned on?

Eugenia - San Francisco   June 21st, 2010 10:53 am ET

Dear Parish Presidents, Mayors, and Council Members,

My concern over the possible contamination of the drinking water for the people of the Gulf Coast has grown tremendously over the past couple of weeks. It would only take one major storm for the contaminated water to be distributed in your communities water table. I know that other Water Agencies through out the Gulf region are and have been planning for this scenario. It is important for the people of the Gulf to know that there are Reverse Osmosis units that can be installed under your kitchen sink that will purify any contaminated water. There are Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Facilities that have been installed but they take hundreds of thousands of dollars and take time to be installed. So the way an individual household can make sure their water is clean is by installing a unit under their sink. There are many companies out there who provide Reverse Osmosis units for household use but many do not work as well as the others. Please believe me that I have no ulterior motive for stating that Kinetico and Water Factory Systems are the best systems available. Both of these companies have proven to able to remove MTBE, while the other companies just state that the charcoal process can remove MTBE but do not apply the accurate process that truly purifies the water. My husband has worked in the treatment of water for over 10 years and does not work for any of these companies, he just believes they are the best. I just know that the water that we drink is so important, more important than most people realize.

I wish you and your community well.


Sparky   June 21st, 2010 11:28 am ET

You don't wait for an accident to happen, you do something to keep it from happening in the first place so the accident never occurs!!! We can put a man in space, but we don't put more shut off valves on oil rigs that we could control electronically never even setting foot in the water to shut it down! You genius who ever designed this F___ thing you need to go back to school there's always a what if and the what if happened you idiots!!!!!!!!!!!!

susan rowlson   June 21st, 2010 11:36 am ET

I think that other oil companies should give a shot in the arm to these people, because this could have been them.

Jo Grimsby   June 21st, 2010 11:48 am ET

What is BP contributing to these United Way efforts? In addition to claims for lost business, I think they need to sink deep into their pockets and pay WHATever is needed to see the people of the Gulf States to a healthy recovery. Business is one thing, but BP handling of this has ruined thousands of lives. Tell BP to make it right.

Suzy   June 21st, 2010 11:51 am ET


JIM CARROLL   June 21st, 2010 4:40 pm ET


Smith in Oregon   June 21st, 2010 6:49 pm ET

Diffusing Hundreds of Millions of Gallons of toxic, poisonous and carcinogenic crude Oil across the entire Gulf of Mexico is without a doubt the plan by BP from day one. However, it could very well be more dangerous to the environment, and more toxic to aquatic life and longer lasting than if they had simply allowed ALL the crude Oil to surface and deal with it on the much smaller surface area as was done with the Ixtoc Oil well previously in the Gulf of Mexico.

Just the immense Methane Gas released from this single Oil gushing blown-well, has created a huge Dead Zone in the Region of the Gulf of Mexico lowering available Oxygen in the Ocean's water below those able to support aquatic life! Sea life that is able to flee to survive undoubtedly have, those that don't or can't are Dead.

Ethanol doesn't kill sea life, doesn't contaminate the beaches and doesn't poison the water table, no wonder Republican lawmakers are lock step against Ethanol based alternative fuel for America!

Kayla Brown-Cestero   June 21st, 2010 8:04 pm ET

There are many who are pointing fingers at BP, Obama, the GOP, etc. but accountability belongs to each of us, myself included. We drive the demand for oil. We don't care what the costs are until it's time to pay the final tab.

If we are really going to change this, we have to take action by:
1) Supporting grassroots efforts to clean up this terrible mess and support those who are affected by this terrible catastrophe. The government is too slow to make things happen at the pace that they need to happen and while United Way is an amazing organization, it cannot do it alone.
2) Investing in greener living – including developing communities (much like those in Dubai) that focus on sustainable, green living.
3) Reevaluating our own consumer habits and changing them – We also need to seriously consider our own consumer habits. We consume more than we need to in terms of gas, plastics and other byproducts.

Action is where it's at – and depending on BP or any other government agency to get the job done isn't going to save the Gulf.

Max   June 21st, 2010 9:04 pm ET

Wheres HAYWARDS donation, he should man up and dontate a yrs SALARY this guy instead floats around on a million dollar yact. The Brits should demand this from a Leader that is suppose to be the commander of this ship. That oil is blood, and the blood lies on his hands and it will for a long time. Pay up Hayward.

Danny D   June 21st, 2010 9:26 pm ET

Zachary Richard wrote a song called "Sunset on Louisienne" which at the time was a powerful statement about industry and big business and the impact on life in Louisiana, now I'm afraid the song has become prophetic!!!

Dolores vento   June 21st, 2010 9:28 pm ET

Hi, It is very sad that all this devastation in now back in the Gulf. I was in St. Bernards Parish in New Orleans 2 weeks ago for a Women's rebuild project , to rebuild the homes destroyed by Katrina. It was a very moving experience. Volunteers are needed to help the people of Louisiana. We were 33 volunteers from the Church of the Presentation in Upper Saddle River, NJ. It was a wonderful experience in givng service to those in need and refreshing to see the young men and women giving their time and gifts of service to New Orleans. I plan to go back again in January 2011. Volunteers are now needed even more, contact the St. Bernard Parish Project for further information. We had stayed at Camp Hope 3, which is now occupied by the helping fishermen. We can all make a difference, if you do not see it in person, you cannot imagine the impact from Katrina and now the oil spill on the people in Louisiana. Regards, Dolores

aldebaran   June 21st, 2010 9:54 pm ET

i agree bp should pay, clean-up, stop the leak, etc, etc–but the reality is that this is not happening and while we wait for bp or try to force bp to do what's right, things get worse and worse for the gulf. that's why it is so important to act now to save OUR gulf and then we will have it (hopefully) forever. i made a contribution and i hope others will too. waiting for bp is suicide–they will not save the gulf–they DON'T CARE!!!! we don't have time for them to futz around–of course, let's do it ourselves and save the gulf!!! i'd rather be out some bucks and have the gulf!!!

zak   June 22nd, 2010 12:05 am ET

we have sooo many problems in the U.S. –namely gulf oil,flooding,drug wars,illegal immigrants and on and on.........
We have enough on our plate where we need to keep our money HERE!!!! NOT in the middle east!!
Who's helping us when we need it??
Wake up America and take care of whats in front of You!!

Christina G.from Oklahoma   June 22nd, 2010 1:31 am ET

I think what has happened to the Gulf and all the families that live there is Heart Breaking. All my prayers go out to Everyone. i think what we need to do now, is to pray and get involved. Faith and prayers without works and action, is dead. God Bless You All.

Ivey from the Bahamas   June 30th, 2010 12:44 pm ET

Great Story. When we learn? Sarah P. how is that drill baby drill thingy working out for you?

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