To the editor:
A massive volume of crude is escaping from the destroyed Deepwater Horizon offshore oil well. Satellite photos show a huge and expanding oil slick subject to random drift. A second oil mass expands underwater and is thought capable of inflicting such habitat damage that the Gulf of Mexico’s entire fishery will be ruined.
British Petroleum officials say a number of months are needed to drill relief wells that will stop the leak. Meantime more millions of gallons of crude will spew from the ocean floor, much of it rising to the surface.
Any hurricane entering the Gulf will pack enough wind and wave power to push this oil slick ashore even if the storm never makes landfall. Contamination will reach farther if the slick is carried inland by a storm surge. If enough hurricanes come, whole coastal zones could be rendered uninhabitable for years.
Gulf Coast states that long provided foodstuffs, products and services have already seen many of their contributions terminated. It is no exaggeration to say that the Deepwater Horizon disaster has created a United States national emergency.
A migration of distressed Gulf Coast residents appears likely. Any mass movement of refugees inland is inherently destabilizing. This offers fresh cause to hasten our military exit from Iraq and Afghanistan. Many war supporters will find this idea unacceptable. Nevertheless, re-deploying those forces stateside lets their unit discipline and resources help us here during the calamity to come.