Gulf Coast oil spill has far reaching impact

April 30, 2010 7:16:02 PM PDT
Oil from a massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico is just now reaching the shores of the Gulf Coast, but its economic and political reach stretches across the country.

The spill could impact what people eat, shutting down multibillion dollar fisheries with high concentrations of shrimp, stone crabs and oysters, but it will not impact the price of gasoline says University of California energy expert Severin Borenstein.

"You're not going to see this fundamentally change the world old markets, which is why the world oil markets haven't really responded to this," Borenstein said.

But fishermen along the gulf coast fear it could ruin their industry.

And wildlife rescue teams from across the country are on their way to the Gulf. A team from the International Bird Rescue Research Center in Cordelia left the Bay Area Thursday night; the director telling ABC7 the spill has a big damage potential.

"Because it's a lot of oil and it's moving in all different directions and with the wind and the currents and they're watching it and following it and no one can control Mother Nature that's the thing," Jay Holdomb said.

Friday, President Obama put on hold any plans to expand off shore drilling.

"Domestic oil production is an important part of our overall strategy for energy security, but I've always said it must be done responsibly for the safety of our workers and our environment," Obama said.

ABC7's political analyst says lawmakers, from Louisiana's Republican governor to the president's secretary of homeland security, are talking about the need for more environmental protection.

"I think that this probably just puts the nail in the coffin of moving forward with off shore oil drilling in California," Bruce Cain said.

The State Department's newly appointed clean energy fellow says oil companies have lobbied the administration with claims that modern technology has made rigs safe from blowouts.

"And this really throws that big picture claim into confusion," Dan Kammen said.

A spokesperson for the oil industry says it is too early to speculate on credibility problems.

"It's a tragedy that this occurred; we need to understand what happened and take the proper steps to insure that it doesn't happen again," Joe Sparano said.

The spill will impact the U.S. economy, from the oil industry to the fishing to tourism; the question is, to what extent?


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