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The Gulf Coast is Still Struggling Economically from the BP Oil Spill

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 26 Jan 2011 03:55pm | comments
DEQ Executive Director Trudy Fisher updates lawmakers on the BP oil spill

The overall impact of the BP oil spill on Mississippi is still being determined by scientist, economist and other professionals. But as MPB's Lawayne Childrey reports the tide of damages remains high.

When the Deepwater Horizon Oil disaster occurred last April it killed 11 people and dumped millions of gallons of oil into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Even though Mississippi beaches saw only isolated and Sporadic tar balls wash ashore Representative, John Mayo of Clarksdale says the perception of oil infestation has severely damaged the state’s tourism industry.

"The restaurants in particular have been hard hit from the tourism. They make all their money in the summer and it carries them over through the winter months to start again next summer. They didn't make that money. And they lost those customers. You know, BP will pay their losses but it can't pay for their customers coming back."

Bill Walker is the Executive Director of the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources. He says that negative perception is also wreaking havoc on the states seafood industry.

"While we're having a bumper crop of white shrimp, more than we normally catch in any given year, our shrimp processors are having a difficult time selling it to their big regional buyers that ultimately provide those shrimp to places like Atlanta, Boston, New York. And we're working with a national marketing firm to let folks know that our seafood is great to eat and it's good for ya and our beaches are open for business."

While the most immediate impact of the oil spill in Mississippi has been one of perception, Trudy Fisher director of the states department of environmental quality says there is still more to be learned.

"First I'mma say we're not sure, the overall impact from an eco system environmental perspective. We're going through the legal process, scientific process of determining what's been hurt in our environment, what's it gone take to fix it and what's it gonna cost. And once we conclude that process that will be presented to BP in a legal case for that to be restored or fixed."

Fisher says state and federal employees, and BP contractors, are still working to restore the barrier islands a dozen miles south of Mississippi's main shoreline. She says the goal is to finish restoration of the islands by early March to accommodate birds' during nesting season. Lawayne Childrey MPB News.

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DEQ Executive Director Trudy Fisher updates lawmakers on the BP oil spill


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