Sunday, December 19, 2010

Day Two: Dauphin Island

Yesterday provided interesting insights from local businessmen as well as Dauphin Island's mayor (at right with Dr. Leara Rhodes looking on). After four interviews, we've noticed a pattern in responses--everyone wishes BP had used local businesses to support its cleanup operations and everyone thinks that existing emergency management agencies at the local, state, and federal level could have improved communication between the government, its citizens, and BP.

Despite these early breakdowns in communication--and the common sentiment that this is worse than any hurricane, having affected the national perception of the Gulf--the island remains optimistic about the prospect for a full economic recovery.

Later in the afternoon, the group visited the Alabama Sea Lab Estuarium to learn more about the delicate ecosystem the oil spill has impacted, from Mobile Bay to the maritime forests of Dauphin Island. (Above, from left: Anisha, Dina, Katherine, John, Jonathan, and Trevor on the very seaworthy Miss MayMay. Below, from left: Anisha, John, and Katherine inspect a fish tank).

Today, we plan to continue to investigate the economic impact of the oil spill on the island's inhabitants. Originally we'd hoped to find more businessmen to interview, but they all told us the same thing--it's Sunday, so they can't miss church in the morning. In fact, on Dauphin Island's calendar of events, Sunday School is the only activity mentioned on Sunday morning.

Not to let an opportunity for an interview pass us buy, we're donning our Sunday best and headed to Chaudoin Avenue, the nexus of church activity in Dauphin Island, in hopes of meeting someone interested in talking to us after services.

Following that, we've secured an interview with Mary Lee Montgomery, BP's Director of Outreach for south Alabama. She's coming to us on the island to take us to interview cleanup crews working here, as well as to provide us with BP's official position.

Follow us on Twitter (just search for UGASPIL) to keep up with our adventures in Dauphin Island!

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