The environmental implications of the recent oil spill at Deepwater Horizon are certainly widespread. Environmental agencies and interest groups are already mobilizing to try to contain oil as best they can.
In a better case scenario, they will be able to keep oil away from the coastline in the Gulf. However, it is more likely that proliferation will continue. In the worst-case scenario, the eastern coastline will be deployed.
Despite the vast and inevitable effects, the area most affected will be Louisiana. Many of Louisiana's largest industries are already feeling the pain of this leak (at the time of writing this month), and it will get worse over time.
This article will explore the most vulnerable industries.
Industries at risk
ShrimpersShrimping has been the mainstay of Louisiana since the 1800s. They have long established traditions. Unfortunately, shrimp industry was one of the first industries to panic. They realized the fragility of the ecosystem surrounding their cash crops and understood that oil would be devastating. This fact was so widely recognized that the state declared an emergency rowing season a few days after the leak, knowing that all shrimp would need to gather something to support themselves in the coming months and possibly years.
Oyster farmers: Nearly 4,800 jobs in Louisiana depend on oyster farming, and now they are all at risk. Just like shrimp, oysters are grown largely through mariculture, which means farming across the sea.
Other fishing projects: With the ocean very much and very close, Los Angeles has become heavily dependent on all fishing industries. This includes other less well known projects.
Louisiana Tourist Industries: The tourism industry is a vast network of travel agencies, booking networks, hotels, tour guides, and more. Each piece of that string will begin to suffer as more and more people are avoiding oil-rich waters off the coast of Louisiana. This will even affect nearby cities if fumes start to leak across coastal lines.
Properties beachfront and real estateNot only is the real estate value of Los Angeles real estate a short-term problem, the entire real estate industry must be transformed and developed depending on how long it takes to clean up and how deeply the inherent environmental factors of leakage are affected.
Boat Operators: There are many reasons to own and operate a boat in Louisiana, be it for tours, hiking, fishing, or entertainment. All these owners will have to carefully monitor damage to their ships and reduce the place and time they can actually get out into the water.
Oil industry workers: It may be easy to think of oil industry workers as the "enemy" right now, but they are just people trying to make a living. A severe violent reaction to this incident is likely to jeopardize many of the oil initiatives around Los Angeles and potentially reduce the job opportunities available.
Restaurants: Many restaurants in Louisiana are seafood based. I have long relied on resources close to fish to keep their stock fresh and delicious. Not only restaurant owners will suffer from stock shortages and increased prices for import, but also all individuals working in those restaurants and people who work the fish "pipeline" that keeps up to meet demand for demand.
As you might imagine, the industries described here are not a comprehensive list of all the people who will be affected. Time alone will reveal how many individuals and industries will have to shift dramatically in order to survive (and how many of them will not survive at all).