Sunday is the four year anniversary of the BP oil spill. Even after four years, the Gulf Coast is still feeling the side effects of the spill. Environmental activists and fisherman on the Gulf Coast are using the anniversary as an opportunity to speak out about the continuing problems. Four years after the BP oil spill, things are still not back to normal for fishermen. Ngo Gin is a deck hand on a freezer ship in Biloxi. He says his income has dropped dramatically since the BP oil spill, and still hasn't recovered.
Gin says, "Post-BP, they're not catching near the volume they used to, and that's a great concern, because the expenses, the fuel, and other expenses are still very high." Gas, ice, and fishing gear prices are going up, but fishermen tell News 25 that they are not catching enough fish. This threatens not only the livelihood of the fishermen, but also those of their families and the community. Gin also says, "Me and my wife had to separate because you know, she has to find work outside the community to help sustain us." Thousands of tar balls are found after every major storm, evidence that the BP oil spill is still affecting the Gulf Coast.
Helen Rose Patterson of the Gulf Restoration Network says, "And that they're airing commercials all over the country being like, 'The Gulf is fine. Come on down,' when our reality and our truth that we know here is that it’s not." Eleven people were killed in the explosion and the U.S. government estimates the total oil discharge at 4.9 million barrels. Patterson says she is most frustrated that while BP hasn't finished the cleanup, they've already been allowed back into the Gulf to drill. Patterson also says, "It’s a slap in the face, not just because they're back, but because we haven't increased the structures that need to be in place to keep us safe."
Many fishermen tell News 25 that they are finding themselves looking to government programs to subsidize their income, which puts a strain on all the taxpayers in the community. Although BP has been allowed back in the Gulf to drill, they are still paying for the continued cleanup measures.