As Gulf of Mexico oil spill hits land, residents decry response
Five years after hurricane Katrina, Gulf Coast residents see in the Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico oil spill another example of the government failing to protect the land and the people.
As the greasy waft of the great Deepwater Horizon oil spill reaches New Orleans and thick gobs of oil permeate Louisiana's bayous, Gulf Coasters are bracing for the second monster catastrophe to strike the region in five years.Skip to next paragraph
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On par with the the Exxon Valdez, the 1969 Santa Barbara oil rig spill, and even hurricane Katrina, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig accident is now likely to impact global oil politics and the health of the nation's prime fishery. But perhaps as critically, the disaster may take a potentially corrosive toll on close-knit bayou communities and tourist towns that could face years of economic hardship and damages litigation.
Adding to that equation is rising mistrust about the response to the spill from BP and the Coast Guard. Indeed, the oil rig spill is reawakening a belief deeply held from Katrina – that the government routinely fails to protect its citizens on the Mississippi Delta.
"People in New Orleans and Louisiana have seen what I would label two tremendous disaster-response failures in five years, and it's like déjà vu all over again," says Steven Picou, a sociologist at the University of South Alabama in Mobile who has studied the social effects of both the Exxon Valdez disaster and hurricane Katrina." It adds to the perception that our government and agencies don't care," he says, "and that mistrust trickles down so now you don't trust BP, you don't trust the Coast Guard, you don't trust what people are telling you, and you don't even trust your neighbors or even your family."