By Daniel Hahn
Special to InHomelandsecurity.com
The government put on their rose-colored glasses and proclaimed the oil crisis over. We who live here have not. In a recent report, the federal government made a claim that 75 percent of the oil is gone, collected, picked up, burned, or otherwise accounted for. They say 25 percent was evaporated and weathered away. Scientists from several well know universities that have not yet been bought by BP disagree. These scientists from the University of Georgia and University of Southern Florida claim that there is a large “plume” of dissolved water in the coldest parts of the Gulf that are going to adversely affect the ecology of the Gulf of Mexico for a long time to come.
Then there is the long term economic and metal health aspects of the spill. Ask Cordova Alaska residents, they will tell you the oil is still there in Prince William Sound, and even if it not physically present, its effects are. The same can, and probably will happen in some less resilient populations along the Gulf Coast. The science behind this is sound.
Why would the federal government tell us a rosy story? I have my theory, and it will remain mine until after the fall elections (ooops!)
There is also video of oil embedded in the sand on the bottom of Pensacola Pass. This is only one of a few places we have looked. I would bet there is a lot more sitting around waiting for a current change, temperature change, or some other anomalous action to take place before it breaks up and rolls ashore. Needless to say we will see tar balls for a decade or more from this spill.
How about the mental health? The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) was given 52 million for the 5 states affected by the oil spill. Louisiana had asked for $10 million earlier in the disaster and was turned down. It was told to me in a meeting with the surgeon general that Louisiana was not turned down, instead the federal government wanted to do a comprehensive response. It will be interesting to see what kind of comprehensive response the federal government brings this time, the coordination of the oil spill was not well conducted. We have already had one suicide, hopefully our last.
Daniel Hahn is the Plans Section Chief for the Santa Rosa County Florida, Division of Emergency Management. Hahn spent 22 years in the United States Army prior to starting his career in emergency management in 2006.
Daniel earned his master’s degree in Emergency and Disaster Management with American Military University, graduating with honors. Hahn is working on a PhD in business administration with a specialization in homeland security policy and leadership through Northcentral University. Daniel is the chair of the Editorial sub-work group for the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM), and is on the editorial advisory board for Continuity Insights magazine. Daniel also teaches in the School of Allied Health and Life Sciences for the University of West Florida, and he teaches emergency management classes for American Military University.