Sierra Club: "Oil spill is America's Chernobyl" - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Sierra Club: "Oil spill is America's Chernobyl"

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By Doug Walker – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Louie Miller with the Sierra Club said, "Unfortunately, the genie is out of the bottle with this oil spill, and I don't think I'm overstating the case by saying this is America's Chernobyl." 

With those words, Miller told a large audience that more help is needed to contain the spill.

"We have to have, as after Katrina, a military response to address this issue." 

Supporters carried signs and applauded the words of the speakers. One of those was the president of the coast charter boat association, Captain Tom Becker.  

"You go out there and catch a fish," Becker said. "Are you going to want to eat it after the oil comes in for awhile?" 

Because of the spill, the Ship Island Ferry Boats are essentially in dry dock for the foreseeable future, according to operator Louis Skrmetta. 

"We have about three million dollars worth of boats sitting here prepared to take out what we thought was going  to be 50,000 passengers this summer," Skrmetta said. "For all intents and purposes, our business is over."  

Skrmetta was not hiding his anger at the lack of action.

"Nothing is happening. We want help. We don't want to be ignored like we were after Katrina," Skrmetta said. 

Sierra Club officials predict this potential catastrophe will make Americans re-think their position on drilling in off-shore waters. Miller addressed that topic.  

"It's unacceptable, the risk associated with offshore oil and gas drilling or offshore oil drilling at this point in time," Miller said. "I think that debate is over as a result of this. This is going to destroy the Mississippi and the Gulf Coast as we know it." 

Everyone is hoping that prediction won't come true, but some are fearful it might. Sierra Club officials were also critical of Governor Haley Barbour, saying he is not taking the spill as seriously as he should. 

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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