It was my second visit out to Grand Isle in as many weeks. My expedition partner Samantha Whitcraft from Oceanic Defense has been engaged in on the water research and aerial surveys since her arrival in the Gulf, and wanted to round out her experience by seeing the gusher’s impact on the terrestrial environment as well. The Gulf Disaster has all but disappeared from the national news, and Unified Command continues to open more beaches and fishing grounds at the same time that they are laying off thousands of workers. Having spent three days flying over the Gulf, we are very much aware that this is not over, nor will it be for a very long time.
What we found this week was an abandoned beach. The BP camp at the end of Grand Isle was almost empty. Even the fences marking off the makeshift parking lots were gone. Last week it was crawling with workers, dune buggies, trucks, and there were Porta Potties everywhere. Now, I’d say 85% of that is gone. The locals told me that they’ve been promised that the military & cleanup workers will come back after the Tropical Depression passes. I don’t believe it. I think they’ll come back, but in smaller numbers. They could be using the storm to sneak out the back door. I expect no less of them.
I’m making a commitment to return to Grand Isle before I leave the Gulf just to see if Unified Command is going to stand by these people, or not.