Since 2009, I paddled Bayou La Batre 20 times. 90 percent of those paddles petroleum sheens were encountered. If Alabama Environmental Enforcement and the Media do not see that there is a problem with that percentage, they are blind. Speaking of Blind...
So I paddled up to a Alabama Marine Resources Enforcement boat today in Bayou La Batre which was occupied by two officers. "Hey, there is a petroleum sheen over there," I tell the officers pointing to the location.
One of the officers replies to the effect, "Yeah, the Coast Guard won't do anything unless there is at least 50 gallons of diesel spilled."
This lame excuse comes from a Alabama Marine Enforcement officer who did not even bother to investigate my complaint. How does he know where the petroleum sheen is coming from or how much was spilled if he did not investigate the source? Pathetic!
This is so typical of my frustration with reporting visible pollution. Not only is paddling in rainbow colored water undesirable, the fumes of petroleum can be overwhelmingly nauseating. And no one gives a damn about the pollution in Alabama Environmental Enforcement. That is the Ugly truth.
I am willing to bet that not a single one of the 90 paddlers in today's organized Paddle Bayou La Batre even noticed the petroleum pollution because they were all paddling on the other side of the Bayou mesmerized by the big shrimp boats.
Like usual even though enforcement people don't care, I took time to investigate the source of the petroleum pollution because based on previous experience, sometimes there can be major diesel leak involved. Today's petroleum pollution was coming from a new sunken boat in a berthing area off Bayou La Batre.
Two guys walked up to the shoreline next to the petroleum leaching boat as I was photo documenting the petroleum pollution (rainbow sheen) coming from the boat. They proceeded to tell me conflicting stories. "Oh, the diesel came from a spilled fuel can," one guy says. Really? And it is still flowing freely from the boat?
He proceeds to say that a gang of thieves stole the boat, took thousands of dollars worth of gear off the boat, towed it to the berthing area, and sunk it. He said the owner had a clean up crew come out to empty the fuel tanks so the sunken boat shouldn't be leaking any petroleum.
Sorry, the petroleum sheen filled the big boat berthing area and continued on out into Bayou La Batre. No one had bothered to put out a petroleum boom to try to contain the leaking petroleum from going out into Bayou La Batre.
And there the sunken boat rests leaking petroleum into Bayou La Batre night and day. BP got their ass fined big time for polluting the environment. When boats in Bayou La Batre pollute the environment with Petroleum, that is considered normal? Ignoring petroleum pollution in public State waterways is criminal.
Robert Bentley, the Governor of Alabama thinks it is more important to use BP Restoration Funds to build a state resort on the beaches of Gulf Shores rather than to clean up its polluted State waterways. That is so sad.
I reported the petroleum spill to the officers on this boat.
The petroleum spill goes unnoticed to most of the paddlers.
I talked to the guys (circled) about the petroleum coming from this sunken boat.
When water is this color it also presents an inhalation hazard. Nausating to breathe in the fumes.
The petroleum pollution went well out into Bayou La Batre.