Fairhope Presentation 2010

Information about Fairhope Presentation 2010

Published on August 9, 2010

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The BP Catastrophe and The Human Condition Along the Gulf of Mexico: Lessons From the Exxon Valdez *Dr. J. Steven PicouProfessor of SociologyUniversity of South AlabamaPresentation given at USA Baldwin County, August 6, 2010. : The BP Catastrophe and The Human Condition Along the Gulf of Mexico: Lessons From the Exxon Valdez *Dr. J. Steven PicouProfessor of SociologyUniversity of South AlabamaPresentation given at USA Baldwin County, August 6, 2010. Background : Background Over the last two decades: Dr. Picou has studied the economic, social and psychological impacts of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. He has conducted random surveys of commercial fishing communities and Alaska Native villages in the years 1989-1992, 1995-1997, 2000, 2006, and 2009. This research was funded primarily by the National Science Foundation. At present he is still researching community recovery in Alaska and will be interviewing fishermen in 2012. Slide 3: The Exxon Valdez Aground on Bligh Reef Overview of the EVOS : Overview of the EVOS On March 24, 1989, the Exxon Valdez ran aground on a well-marked reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska. The supertanker leaked 11 million gallons of oil into one of the most pristine ecosystems on the planet. The amount of oil spilled has been recently debated, with some documents suggesting that 24 to 36 million gallons were actually released. Nonetheless, long term ecological impacts still exist as oil remains and fisheries, marine mammals and other species are being effected. Slide 5: Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Clean-up Community Impacts Documented in Alaska : Community Impacts Documented in Alaska The specific impacts include: Chronic patterns of community disruption, resulting in the emergence of corrosive communities; Resource-loss, Depression, Helplessness, Anxiety, Suicides; Psychological stress, including symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); Breakdown of social relationships resulting in inadequate coping skills, further exacerbating chronic patterns of psychological stress. Community Impacts Documented in Alaska : Community Impacts Documented in Alaska These dramatic long-term impacts of technological disasters have been attributed to three primary factors for victims. Concerns about government and corporate failure, resulting in loss of institutional trust; Severe mental and physical health problems; Continued reminders of the technological disaster and resulting toxic contamination are generated by toxic tort litigation and devastating “income loss spirals”. Economic Loss Spirals : Economic Loss Spirals $155 million losses to PWS Fishery, 1989-1990 (Cohen, 1997). 1989: Gain of $39,382 per fisher. 1990-1994: Losses of $50,000 per year for 35% of Cordova fishers. 2009: 40% of fishers report continuing economic losses. Permit devaluations averaged $250,000. Chronic Impacts of the EVOS: Recent Impacts : Chronic Impacts of the EVOS: Recent Impacts Chronic Impacts of EVOS, 2009 : Chronic Impacts of EVOS, 2009 Community has become more fragmented 47% Local economy has gotten worse 81% Litigation caused unpleasant memories 76% Supreme Court Decision unfair 92% Money received allows recovery 14% Friends drink too much because of EVOS 40% Traditional Natural & Technological Disaster Stage Models* : Traditional Natural & Technological Disaster Stage Models* Natural Disasters Technological Disasters Warning Warning Threat Threat Impact Impact ? Rescue Rescue ? Inventory Inventory ? Remedy Remedy ? Recovery Recovery ? Rehabilitation Rehabilitation *S.R Couch, 1996. “Environmental Contamination, Community transformation and The Centrulia Mine Fire” in J.K.Mitchell (ed.) The Long Road to Recovery. Tokyo. UN Press Corrosive Community : Corrosive Community The dysfunctional effects of technological disasters on impacted communities characterized by the breakdown of social relationships, the fragmentation of community groups, family conflict and the use of self-isolation as a primary coping strategy. The lack of sympathetic behavior from non-victims, combined with declining support capabilities of local mental health programs, results in a pattern of continuing deterioration of community culture and organization. Therapeutic Community* : . *Freudenberg, W.R. and T.R. Jones. 1991. “Attitudes and Stress in the Presence of Technological Disaster: A Test of the Supreme Court Hypothesis” Social Forces 69(4) 1143-1168. Therapeutic Community* The socially integrative effects disasters have on an impacted community in the aftermath of disaster characterized by an outpouring of altruistic feelings and behavior. The therapeutic community includes the generally sympathetic behavior on the part of non-victims which helps compensate for the sorrow and stress many community members are experiencing with an unexpected abundance of personal warmth and direct help.4 The Corrosive Social Cycle of Disasters* : The Corrosive Social Cycle of Disasters* Culture Interpersonal values and norms Prolonged Recovery Social Structure Intergroup Relations Prolonged Recovery *Picou, J.S. and B.K. Marshall. 2007. “Katrina as Paradigm Shift” In D. Brunsama, D. Overfelt and J.S. Picou. The Sociology of Katrina. Rowman-Littlefield Publishers. The Therapeutic Cycle* : The Therapeutic Cycle* *Chamlee-Wright, Emily. 2006. After the Storm: Social Capital Regrouping in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina. Global Prosperity Initiative. Arlington, VA: Mercatus Center, George Mason University. Mean Intrusive Stress Scores of Cordova Residents, 1989-2009 : Mean Intrusive Stress Scores of Cordova Residents, 1989-2009 Slide 17: April 21, 2010: Deepwater Horizon Slide 19: In a Wednesday, May 19, 2010 photo, Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser and La. Gov. Bobby Jindal tour through the Roseau Grasses that mark the coastline of Southeast Louisiana at Pass a Loutre at the mouth of the Mississippi River where oil has washed ashore. (AP Photo/The Times-Picayune, Ted Jackson) Slide 20: The state's emergency management site posted this photo of a tar mat about 75 yards long and 12 feet wide, spotted today in the Ono Island channel in the Perdido Bay area. (Florida Department of Emergency Management) West of the Pensacola Beach Gulf Fishing Pier the beaches along the 1000 block of Fort Pickens Road are covered with oil Wednesday afternoon, 6/23/2010. (Bruce Graner/[email protected]) Slide 23: http://photos.al.com/mobile-press-register/2010/04/waiting_for_word_1.html http://photos.al.com/mobile-press-register/2010/04/emotional_news.html Families Awaiting Word, April 22, 2010 THE IMPACTS OF THE BP SPILL : THE IMPACTS OF THE BP SPILL Regional Economic Community Social Capital Family Stability Individual Mental Health DOCUMENTED IMPACTSOF THE BP SPILL : DOCUMENTED IMPACTSOF THE BP SPILL Present Sociological Impacts:Formation of Corrosive Communities : Present Sociological Impacts:Formation of Corrosive Communities Anger expressed at public meetings Marginalization of groups due to the VOO Program/overt conflict Increase in police calls over 100% Increase in calls to local mental health agencies Increase in DUI arrests Increase in domestic violence Documentation of Economic Impacts : Documentation of Economic Impacts Severe and serious for identified seasonal high-risk groups Commercial fisher, charter boat operators, shrimpers, oyster harvesters, restaurant owners, real estate employees, souvenir shop owners, etc., etc. Restaurants down 50-75% Hotels, condos, cottages down 50-75% Fishing/shrimping grounds closed Economic Impacts, (cont.) : Economic Impacts, (cont.) Estimates of losses for Gulf Coast communities = 18-22 billion dollars Loss of tax revenues for communities BP claims process confusing and slow (less than 12% paid) totaling 225 million dollar Hundreds of communities and millions of people of being impacted No BP deposit in Feinberg Fund August 6, 2010 Present Mental HealthImpacts : Present Mental HealthImpacts Severe depression documented across the Gulf Coast Problems especially acute for minority communities, e.g., Vietnamese, Cambodian’s and African-American Crying and anxiety documented Helplessness and fear for losing vessels, homes and businesses Suicide of boat captain on 65th day QUOTES : QUOTES “It’s not like Katrina, where we can say in a year or two or maybe three we will get our lives back together. Right now…It’s if we are never going to get our lives back together.” St. Bernard Parish Resident USA Today, June 18. QUOTES (CONT.) : QUOTES (CONT.) “I just cry all the time. I can’t stop. My husband now works on the clean-up because he cannot shrimp. We have not talked to each other in a month. I do not think our marriage will survive the spill.” Venice, LA resident, June 22 LITIGATION : LITIGATION Over 350 lawsuits filed Complex and long term litigation will result Escrow account is a legal strategy Waiver to litigate necessary for claimants LITIGATION (CONT.) : LITIGATION (CONT.) BP has allocated 500 million dollars to hire Gulf Coast Scientists June 15 – LSU, University of South Florida, Texas A&M University and Mississippi State University received 25 million BP owns data, no publications for 3 years or longer w/o BP approval Gulf Coast scientists are members of BP’s legal team of experts SURVEY RESULTS : SURVEY RESULTS 26.6% may move 70.2% avoided beach 25.8% income decreased 40.0% feel they were exposed to oil/dispersants 32.6% children have physical health problems SUMMARY : SUMMARY Community, social and psychological impacts are serious and maybe long-term (2-10 years) Outreach mitigation strategies have begun These include peer listener training, refocus of post-Katrina volunteer/faith-based organizations See: www.masgc.org

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