The BP oil spill crippled tourism on the Gulf Coast last year, but business hope to make up for it this year. Cities along the coast say that cleanup is complete and the beaches are safe again.
Last year, an oil rig owned by British Petroleum (BP) dumped billions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The largest industries in the region – fishing and tourism – were halted due to environmental and health concerns.
After BP and the US government spent billions of dollars and several months stopping the leak and cleaning the spill, Gulf hotels, restaurants and fisheries are ready to get back to business.
Kenneth Feinberg has been put in charge of allotting money to those businesses and individuals affected by the oil spill. Victims say his payoff estimates are too low, BP claims they are too high. Most small business owners are just hoping to have a better season this year.
A large number of the businesses on the Gulf Coast depend on charter boats, gulf seafood and families who want to play on the beach for their success. Owners of hotels, restaurants and gas stations depend on their spring to fall tourist season to survive.
Reports on the cleanup efforts are good. Gulf beaches are back to pristine white and testing of marine life shows good eats except for Gulf oysters, which may be suspect for some time.
It will be a long time before the full environmental impact of the spill is known. Early reports of effects on wildlife seem to be better than expected.
New technologies are in the works to prevent such a spill from occurring again. This spill impacted the entire Gulf region, from Texas all the way to southern Florida. Emphasis on health has put Gulf seafood in demand. Fish offers high protein and lower fat when compared to other red meats popular with Americans. Louisiana, Alabama and Georgia also have claims against BP for damages incurred due to the oil spill.