Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Mac McClelland in Pensacola

Mac McClelland has been covering the BP oil gusher for Mother Jones magazine almost from the beginning. The first week of May she packed up and headed to her old home in New Orleans.

Over the ensuing two months in her regular column "The Rights Stuff" from the Gulf Coast she has published some of the very best, most incisive and most informative reporting about the oil catastrophe available. We noticed she was slowly working her way eastward and wondered if she might eventually arrive here.

Hypocrites, liars, polluters, pols, and shameless promoters beware! Mac McClelland is now on Pensacola Beach. Today, she published her first article from Northwest Florida: "Pensacola: Come On In, The Water's Oily!"

Here's a small taste:
Some of the tar mat is so thick that it's visible to the naked eye. Other traces of contamination are so subtle that they can only be seen with Kirby's ultraviolet light, which makes crude fluoresce an unnaturally bright orange.

We trek around Pensacola Beach with the oversize light, illuminating oil everywhere: on decks, driveways, boardwalks, handrails. Blobs of it, smears of it, perfect imprints of footprints glowing neon, far beyond the waves washing oil from the Deepwater Horizon leak ashore.

If you're a tourist or a local thinking of letting your kids swim in Pensacola Beach water anytime soon, do yourself a favor and read the whole thing.

If you're the county health director, try to buy up all the copies of Mother Jones you can before your professional colleagues see what you've been ignoring.

If you're the "anonymous health department employee" who knows the only way Buck Lee is going to close Pensacola Beach "is if it's on fire" -- you deserve the Albert Schweitzer Award.


Anonymous said...

Finally some truth!

BeachLover said...

Not so sure about "truth." I seriously question Ms. McClelland's statements about the shark killing. In the first place, shark fishing is NOT ALLOWED on the Pensacola Beach pier. In the second place, under the current in-State waters fish harvesting ban (extending from the Alabama line to the PBeach beach ball, thus including the pier), fishing is CATCH AND RELEASE ONLY, not catch and kill. The pier operator also vehemently denies the killing story. Call me naive, but I believe him.

Beach Blogger said...

We've been in communication with Mac McClelland since first noticing "Beach Lover's" message, above. Although Ms. McClelland is unable at the moment to post a reply to "BeachLover" herself, this is what she tells us:

"There were absolutely, unquestionably, beyond any shadow of a doubt TWO sharks slaughtered in my presence within like 20 minutes on that pier."

Ms. McClelland clearly was on the beach and present at the pier at the time she describes. It appears neither "BeachLover" nor the 'pier operator' were present.

Accordingly, we see no reason whatsoever to doubt Ms. McClelland's story, much less to malign her integrity. She is an experienced and widely respected reporter and book author. For years Ms. McClelland has demonstrated a talent for keenly observing and accurately reporting what she sees.

"BeachLover," like anyone else, is entitled to express any belief under the sun -- even if there are no facts to support it. But if there is any 'naivete' at work here, we think it more likely stems from "BeachLover's" credulous assumptions that (a) fishing rules are always obeyed by all fishermen and (b) the Pensacola Beach fishing pier is perfectly policed.

We visit the pier as a pedestrian at least a dozen times a year. Regrettably, we can attest from personal observation that both assumptions are unsound.

BeachLover said...

My friend Beach Blogger may be correct, and if so I offer my sincere apologies to Ms. McClelland, while at the same time reminding Beach Blogger that it was at HIS emailed behest that I called the pier operator in the first place, to confirm just what fishing rules were in effect at the time of the reported incident, as I'd understood the pier to be under a catch-and-release-only order. I suppose it was my faulty assumption that, if Beach Blogger -- a careful researcher in his own right -- referred me to this person, he (pier operator) must know what he's about when it comes to what's going on at the pier. My bad.

Anonymous said...

Was a reference stroll with the same ultraviolet light need done on a beach that has not yet seen BP oil as a comparison..???

"illuminating oil everywhere: on decks, driveways, boardwalks, handrails. Blobs of it, smears of it, perfect imprints of footprints glowing neon, far beyond the waves washing oil from the Deepwater Horizon leak ashore."

Well maybe decks, boardwalks handrails will show "oil" from sun tan and sun block lotions, messy eating habits, sweaty palms, etc.
Driveways and parking lots will glow from "oil" drops from your car and from the tire shine you put on your tires and the wax dust you rubbed off, car wash soap too, etc.

Just sayin, that perhaps the fringe areas contamination is not what it might appear to be.

I also doubt the PB Pier and sharking story. The regular fisherman will cut your line for you without asking. And unless you bring your own equipment, your not gonna haul a 100 pound plus shark 30 feet out of the water. And where are these "wooden post" located on the PB Pier that can be used to swing a sharks head into?

BLehman said...

Suntan oil BLOCKS UV light. Oil ABSORBS it. The detectors know the difference.