BP Oil Spill Damage Continues in the Gulf

The next time you hear politicians on Capitol Hill calling environmental regulations on the energy industry needless overkill on an industry that poses no serious threat to man or beast, please refer to the following two headlines from this week's news:

The Deepwater Horizon gusher was capped off the Louisiana coast almost 2.5 years ago, but as the folks in this neck of the marsh say, "The oil may have stopped flowing, but the spill isn't over."

(Full disclosure: The wetlands of southeast Louisiana have been my playground, office, and place of worship most of my life.)

No one on this coast is really surprised.

The Coast Guard, which is in charge of the on-going cleanup, estimated last week that BP's contractors have hauled away just shy of 9 million pounds of "oily product" from Louisiana's battered waterfront since 2010.

But a recently discovered deposit has yielded over 1.5 million pounds in just a few weeks - with more to come, according to the Coast Guard. In fact, spill experts back in 2010 said the amount of oil dumped into the Gulf by BP likely means weathered oil - from small patches to giant mats - will be rolling into our beaches and marshes for decades.

Recently published research showed that half the bottlenose dolphins in Barataria Bay, an estuary just south of New Orleans that was heavily hit by the oil, are gravely to mortally ill from oil pollution.

Earlier research on a key aquatic prey species showed BP's pollution may be seeping into the food chain.

You may have read that Exxon says it has finished the job of cleaning up Prince William Sound after its notorious 1989 spill--but the state of Alaska reports that environmental damages and oil sightings are still being documented, 20 years later.

Sportsmen understand we need the energy. We know there are risks involved that must be accepted as the nation and the world look for cleaner ways to fuel our lives. But it only makes sense to require tougher rules for playing in this game.

Prince William Sound remains sick, its fishing industry still in tatters. BP has already paid out billion in damages and will be paying billions more, but a decade from now the oil will still be washing up on our beaches, and who knows what other creatures will be dying.

That's the real risk involved for the rest of us.