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Friday, January 13, 2012

BP Promotes Tourism In The Gulf Of Mexico

Oil giant BP is now promoting tourism in the Gulf of Mexico. The company’s national advertising campaign says the gulf is a great vacation spot — despite the 2010 oil disaster.

Their new ad says “the Gulf is America’s getaway spot — no matter where you go. So come on down and make 2012 an even better year for tourism on the Gulf.”

BP has paid out $6.3 billion to almost 200,000 claimants harmed by the disaster. It has also set aside more than $1 billion to restore the gulf ecosystem. Yet environmental writer David Gessner says more needs to be done and he questions whether the Gulf will ever fully recover.

Media Coverage Falls ‘Off A Cliff’

He says initially almost half of CNN’s coverage was on the Gulf, but that “fell off a cliff” once BP’s spewing well was capped.

“We’ve got kind of national ADD. We were so focused on the Gulf, now we’ve completely forgotten it,” he told Here & Now‘s Deb Becker.

Long Term Impact Of Oil

Gessner says that early on, there were real fears that all the marshes would be covered in oil, that there would be, in his words, an “Exxon-Valdez that was from Texas to Florida.”

“That did not come to pass. But because the giant obvious disaster didn’t occur doesn’t mean a subtler disaster won’t occur,” he said.

Gessner recently returned to the Gulf and he found tar balls still washing up on the beach after a storm, and he says the long-term impact of the widely used dispersants, which sink the oil, is unknown.

Guest:

  • David Gessner, environmental writer who teaches creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. He’s the author of “The Tar Ball Chronicles : A Journey Beyond the Oiled Pelican and Into the Heart of The Gulf Oil Spill.”

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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