By Ivan G. Marte
Forty-five days and counting with no solution in sight, not to mention a government administration grappling to take control of the situation.
Bobby Jindal, Louisiana’s governor, up in arms, the news media doing what they do best — sensationalizing a serious story — and BP in search of a scapegoat, while most of us remain in shock unable to understand how a major oil corporation like BP never got around to preparing for a major disaster.
One has to wonder how all those great minds working for BP never thought that sooner or later a plan would be necessary to address a crisis like this. A plan that included capping a runaway oil leak and preserving the lives of living creatures in the ocean, as well as, minimizing the environmental effect on humans.
What I find most incredible is that among the many faces BP parades in front of the television cameras to talk about the crisis they all seem to have only one thing in common — none of them know or have any idea how this happened, what will fix it and what is the next step. It doesn’t help that some media have reported that BP officials are even being secretive when it comes to saying what the exact chemical content and side effects will be caused by the dispersants used to break up the oil.
In addition, while the White House has realized that this is no doubt the worst crisis in history, they too don’t’ have a clue as to how to fix the problem.
So what can we, the American public, do?
One thing to be done is that we must realize this is a giant wake-up call to get out of our comfort zones and hold accountable our elected officials, those today and even ones that came before them, who are/were supposed to represent our best interests and the best interests of the country.
It is time to make our public officials aware that reaching public office is more that just maintaining an image and being a good speaker. They have to be accountable and answer straightforwardly to the American people at all times.
It doesn’t take a scientist or a psychic to know that this oil will impact all Americans in one way or another for years to come.
For example: Our ecosystem will be affected which, in turn, could wreak havoc with our climate.
We know we will see a very high percentage of marine life disappear from our planet due to this spill. This shortage will not only affect our consumption of fish but the livelihoods of everyone involved in catching, cleaning and transporting those fish to market.
Wildlife and plants in the marshes, swamps and coastal waters along the Gulf of Mexico will be so contaminated that within a few years some of the most common species will stop reproducing and extinction will follow.
And then there is the uncertainty if all this contaminated water will actually stay out at sea and not somehow seep its way into someone’s supply of drinking water.
Given the fact that researchers at Louisiana State University have measured the rate of underwater currents in the expedition area and oceanographers are plotting the course of the oil spread, it’s a safe assumption that this spill will not remain only a U.S. crisis but could impact other countries too. The impact will not be only in polluting the waters, but poisoning the marine ecosystem which will have adverse effects on the marine food chain eventually reaching humans.
As each day passes and more oil is allowed to escape and secrecy, evasiveness and blame are accepted responses to deal with the situation, there’s no telling how large the cost will be to our environment or our wallets.
Both ways, it’s going to hurt.
Ivan Marte was born in the Dominican Republic and moved to New York City when he was 16. He became involved with politics, working with N.Y. Governor George Pataki on his election campaign. He is a professional banker, having served as director of the Dominican equivalent of the Federal Reserve Bank, and he is currently an assistant manager at Domestic Bank.
In 2009, Marte resigned as chairman of the Rhode Island Republican Hispanic Assembly, saying that he quit the GOP out of embarrassment at South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson’s outburst during President Obama’s address to Congress.
Marte currently serves as President at the Rhode Island-based Center for the Defense of Civil Rights and Equality.