As the oil spill from hell looks to coat all of the Gulf coast and kill every breathing thing that cannot run or fly away, why isn't the Federal Government immediately setting up a direct jobs program to clean up and deal with the disaster?
Some jobs are appearing:
Hundreds stood in a line that wrapped around Workforce Escarosa in Pensacola this morning to apply for positions on a cleanup crew for the oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico.
Brittany Bailey, business services outreach representative, said Escarosa is recruiting 300 to 500 Gulf Coast workers for a Texas-based workforce development company called Advanced Employment Solutions.
"They need the manpower immediately," she said.
Fishermen in Louisiana are being contracted by BP to help with the mess:
Several fishermen expressed anger and frustration with BP and their government supervisors. Some clearly didn't trust the company and asked whether they would lose their chance at jobs if they had their lawyers review the documents. They were assured that they wouldn't. But the company also made it clear that signing the contract didn't guarantee work. The contracts specify a day rate for the jobs, and the crowd seemed to think the rate was fair.
But many were concerned about how quickly they would be reimbursed for expenses, like fuel. It costs hundreds of dollars to fuel their vessels, and several told us they couldn't afford to carry those expenses for very long.
But the jobs are not immediate.
Even worse, if they do not stop the flow, the wetlands vegetation will be killed.
The oil slick as tripled in size, to 3850 square miles, the size of Puerto Rico.
The Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster, by comparison, employed 11,000 people and covered 1,300 square miles. Obviously we need an army down there to immediately try to contain the damage, be trained, save wildlife as best they can.
Wildlife rescue teams are moving in, but recall this is nesting season. This is what happened, in the Exxon Valdez disaster, which occurred in March, before the nesting season in Alaska:
Thousands of animals died immediately; the best estimates include 100,000 to as many as 250,000 seabirds, at least 2,800 sea otters, approximately 12 river otters, 300 harbor seals, 247 bald eagles, and 22 orcas, as well as the destruction of billions of salmon and herring eggs. The effects of the spill continue to be felt today. Overall reductions in population have been seen in various ocean animals, including stunted growth in pink salmon populations. Sea otters and ducks also showed higher death rates in following years, partially because they ingested prey from contaminated soil and from ingestion of oil residues on hair due to grooming.
This is breeding season in the Gulf coast, with thousands of endangered species, nests, eggs in grave danger.
Surely one can deploy a rapid training and hiring program immediately to try to contain the damage. This is an apocalyptic disaster. We have millions of unemployed and why the Federal Government isn't pulling out all of the stops immediately is beyond me.
Normally the phrase is kill two birds with one stone for such a situation. In this case the phrase might be re-coined to save two birds with one action.