Report from VENICE, LOUISIANA by: Ben Boothe, Global Perspectives

The 70 mile strip of the Mississippi from New Orleans, may be one of the most concentrated stretches of the chemical industry in the world. It is the funnel to the entire river, and all the run off from chemicals, fertilizer, city waste systems, and thousands of ships, concentrates here. Now the oil spill in the Gulf, has added a new "drink" for the fishery and for the people who depend upon it. For those who like their seafood cooked with oil, the Britsh have sent a gift to the Gulf. 6,000,000+ gallons of oil!

BP Cocktail, Cheers all you blokes in America!

Federal Agencies have closed up and banned commercial fishing from Venice all the way to Florida because of the oil spill. Every fisherman sitting idle has been damaged, by loss of present income, and perhaps by long term damage to the fishery of the Gulf. Some believe hundreds of millions of fish and other species will die, or at least, ingest and carry toxins that could have an impact for years to come.

The vast chemical flow coming from the Mississippi creates an algae flume in the Gulf that eats all of the oxygen. There is now a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico as large as the State of New Jersey, and it is growing. "Nothing can live in the dead zone. There is no oxygen. It is now growing because of the "BP oil spill" Stephen Soloman , author of the book Oil, the Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power and Civilization, told me as we discussed damage to the environment.

Dispersants have pushed the oil slick under water, with even more chemicals, but Bob Carney, LSU professor of coastal ecology and oceanography says: "The dispersants themselves are toxic. You are sacrificing the ocean systems to try to save the coasts." These coasts have had enough chemicals already, without BP's additional millions of gallons.


With estimates ranging from 1,000 barrels to 5,000 (some say as high as 20,000) barrels of oil having spewed out per day, even before the "containment" domes, and before valves were repaired, whatever BP does next does not alter the fact that the damage has already been done. There are 42 gallons of oil per barrel, so you do the math. 5000 x 42 x 30 days = 6,300,000 gallons of oil in the Gulf of Mexico.That oil is there. It is now part of our food chain, and eco system. BP's use of a 45' tall "collector dome" is too little too late.

Venice is littered with oil and chemical operations, yet the fishermen based there must have a healthy ocean environment to survive. This spill will impact the Gulf for years.