I received the message below from Don Abrams (Mississippi) and thought that I should share it. This is the reality "on the ground". Money is either being squandered through mismanagement or it is disappearing into the great maw of state and local bureaucracies.
With restrictions on the media and BP’s interminable PR spin efforts, we must rely on the reports of those who live (and once worked) in the Gulf region. Their descriptions are discouraging, maddening and tragic.
http://dwabrams.com/gulfshores071210.html "Photos from Gulf Shores on 7/12/10.
"There was an extensive cleanup effort in progress but while there was much activity, little progress was being made. Crews were dabbling with sargassum remnants while ATVs ran up and down the beach grinding the small nuggets of oil into the sand.
We walked down the beach to the east and found a layer of buried oil where the waves were eroding recently deposited sand at a small 'bluff' by the water's edge, just a couple of hundred yards from the tent. Just before noon none of cleanup crews had been there that day - no tracks.
We tried to locate a supervisor to report the oil and none was in the area. There was a strong oil smell from the sand and the water. A tan/brown 'bathtub' ring was present where the waves stopped on the beach. The ATVs seemed to be respecting the red flags marking the beginning of the dunes. With a simple screen sifter and a shovel I estimate that we could have filled a five-gallon bucket with oil nuggets with 30 minutes of easy work.
It was disheartening to see all the money being spent on a poorly organized and poorly supervised effort. A two hour snapshot - lots of activity, little result. And possibly more harm than good was being done. That oil in the ATV track would probably have been relatively simple to recover before it was ground into the sand. I am horrified at the idea of having this sort of disjointed and poorly directed work done on our barrier islands."