Doug's Blog: All oil all the time - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Doug's Blog: All oil all the time

By Doug Walker – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) – This is normally one of the better times of the year on the Gulf Coast.  The beaches are packed, the golf courses play host to scratch golfers and duffers alike, the casinos are hopping, and the fishing is fantastic. 

Not so this year. This year is the year of the great spill.  All oil, all the time. 

Ever since Deepwater Horizon blew up on April 20th, we on the coast have held our collective breath.  But with more than 120 million gallons of oil in the Gulf, it was not a matter of if, but when the oil would strike here. 

And now it has.  In great volume.  Sand castles have been replaced by tarballs.  Swimwear has been replaced by Hazmat suits.  And we are all the poorer for it. 

Who is to blame for this gigantic mess.  Certainly BP needs to have a finger pointed at it.  The federal government was slow to react to the disaster.  Even some state and local officials downplayed the spill initially.  And we the people can shoulder some of the blame as well.  We still drive big cars and trucks, and too many of us use too much energy at home and at work.  I'm not suggesting altering our way of life to any great degree.  Just cut back a little at a time. 

As for my job as a reporter, I have been consumed by the spill.  80% of the stories I do these days have some oil angle.  And that is sad.  I long for the day when I would have to rack my brain to come up with a decent story for the day.  Now the stories pour in, just like the oil. 

To make matters worse, people are being hurt by this spill, emotionally and financially.  I have done dozens of stories with local businesses that are in danger of going under because of the loss of customers.  They range from charter boats captains, to fishermen, realtors, repair shop owners, hotel operators, tourist attractions, and the list goes on and on. 

Steve Phillips has reported numerous times on the environmental damage.  Trang has talked to many people who have been laid off.  All of our reporters are covering the oil spill, almost exclusively. 

I know we are all tired of this mess, and want to put it behind us.  I know our viewers feel the same way.  But we will plug along and cover this story as long as needed.  I just hope the gusher in the Gulf can be plugged soon, so we can get back to some sort of normalcy.  But I'm afraid that day is far down the road. 

Even when the well is capped, this oil will be coming ashore for months, if not years.  And that makes me feel terrible.  This coast has been my home for the vast majority of my life.  My two children were born and raised here, and my wife is a lifelong resident.  I do not want to see our way of life destroyed. 

But even if it's not destroyed, it's been greatly altered for at least the foreseeable  future.  And that is a shame.

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