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					Mr. Rip Daniels                                                                      1
CEO/Manager WJZD-FM
Vice President, Mississippi
Gulf Coast Tourism Commission
The American Energy Initiative – March 17, 2011
Subcommittee on Energy and Power


It is indeed an honor to be invited again to testify before the Congressional

Subcommittee on Energy and Power.


Although my testimony would be only as a private citizen of the Mississippi Gulf

Coast, my experiences as a lifelong resident, hotelier, and Vice-President of the

Tourism Commission, affords me the ability to provide a realistic view of the

environmental, economic, and psychological impact of the April 20, 2010 BP oil

explosion.


On July 27, 2010 , I testified to this committee that the impact of the BP oil disaster

on tourism "has been and will be devastating" but "the devastation is difficult to

measure because both the actual and perception of damage cannot be readily

measured." That is still my position.


A multi-million dollar well ruining a multi-billion dollar tourism and seafood

industry is not a good exchange. According to recent Harrison County surveys,

the primary reason for visits to the Gulf Coast is the seafood.


The coastal view is still gorgeous, beaches are clean, the sound and bayous are

open for fishing, but is the seafood safe long term? Dr. Robert Dickey of the FDA's

Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition said yes. FDA testing shows PAH

levels are 100-1000 times below levels of concern. And dispersant is also not

detected or below levels of concern. But does that remove the perception that the

seafood is not safe? And why are visitors constantly asking "Did this come from

the Gulf? Is it safe?"
Mr. Rip Daniels                                                                           2
The American Energy Initiative – March 17, 2011
Subcommittee on Energy and Power


Coastians are apprehensive about the thought that merely high tides can result in

a plethora of tar balls from the gulf floor because oil and tar balls are still washing

up on beaches and barrier islands. Even more ominous, the National Oceanic and

Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) declared that 60+ dolphins found washed

ashore between the Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana over the last three

months was " an unusual mortality event"[Reuters]. Alarmingly, about one-half of

the dolphins were newborn or stillborn calves. Just imagine how many dead

calves did not wash up but were lost at sea or eaten. It's calving season and this

many dead dolphins is twelve times the number normally found. Moby Solangi,

Director of the Institute of Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport, MS said " When we

see something strange like this happen to a large group of dolphins, which are at

the top of the food chain, it tells us the rest of the food chain is affected.". By the

way, the results from an examination by the government's Oil Spill Damage

Assessment of the 89 dead adult dolphins that washed ashore after the 2010 oil

explosion, have not been released. Why? Ladies and gentlemen, dolphins are air

breathing mammals and so is man.



Is the seafood safe for human consumption? I don't know. I would not advise

women who are pregnant to eat it, but I eat Gulf seafood because I know that

years from now, scientists will need to evaluate before and after data so that they

may more precisely determine the actual impact of the result of human

consumption of the seafood. So we Gulf Coastians, reluctantly participate in the

experiment.



BUT, big oil, we are not your guinea pigs, we are your customers and you should

treat us as such.
Mr. Rip Daniels                                                                       3
The American Energy Initiative – March 17, 2011
Subcommittee on Energy and Power


BP, what are you willing to risk for the sake of profit? Our lives and the lives of

our children?


Which brings me to the economic impact and my prediction that there would be a

perception that the Coast has economically recovered. Yes, hotel and casino

revenues are up and inquires are up, but the local seafood industry is dismal.

Charter boat business is slow, oyster reefs are barren, and shrimpers are

pessimistic about the brown shrimp season. Of course, many filed claims with BP,

and to add insult to injury, many of those claims were either denied or are being

leveraged for the BP release of liability agreements.



Although BP spent 15 million in six months on Mississippi tourism marketing to

quell some of the misconceptions, please keep in mind that it only took 2.5 million

to promote the Coast for a banner year before the oil spill. Therefore, it seems

that in order to maintain current levels of revenues, BP should commit to the 15

million dollars per six months until the perception is removed.



Whether we like it or not, the Coast will have the dubious designation of being the

location of America's worst oil spill to date.



What the Mississippi Gulf Coast tourism industry needs now is reassurance and

the oil companies can do that by providing the following:
Mr. Rip Daniels                                                                      4
The American Energy Initiative – March 17, 2011
Subcommittee on Energy and Power



   1. The ecological impact must be the first consideration when considering

       where to drill.

   2. The pre-existing economical impact should also be considered first, i.e.,

       the multibillion dollar seafood and tourist industry should not be

       jeopardized for the sake of the multimillion dollar oil rig.

   3. The federal government must reassure Coastians and the world that the

       seafood is safe by providing an army of scientists to monitor deep water

       and shallow water marine life indefinitely.

   4. There must be a long-term commitment to provide HAZMAT training and

       support so that local coastal municipalities can respond in mass if

       necessary.

   5. Fresh water and the water table must be monitored with greater

       frequencies.

   6. The government cannot allow deep water drilling or any drilling in areas

       where water currents and weather conditions make an oil spill impossible

       to contain and thus adversely affecting seafood and tourism industries.



Finally, all of the above is necessary because tourists must be reassured that the

destination they're visiting is safe or they won't come. For tourism, the perception

of a safe environment is just as important as the reality.



In conclusion, we Gulf Coastians understand that our tourism industry may take

just as long to improve, but we must know that there is a long term commitment to

assist in that recovery in both real damage and perceived damage.
                                                                   IMMS Stranding Summary 2011                           last updated March 16, 2011 at 9 am cst

The following information represents data collected by IMMS from marine mammal strandings in Mississippi and Alabama
in 2011.
Life Stage Legend                                                                                                              Overview
Calf =         shorter than 150 cm                                                      Total dolphins found in MS and AL for 2011                62
Juvenile=      151 to 209 cm                                                               Total calves found in MS and AL for 2011               45
Adult =        longer than 210 cm                                                                             Total calves found in MS            24
Unk=           Unknown                                                                                         Total calves found in AL           21
Life stage classifications shown above are basic descriptions of bottlenose dolphin age classes in the northern Gulf of Mexico and may change
when further information becomes available. In addition, these classifications may differ from life stage classifications used in other
geographic locations.
                     Date          Number General Location                                                                     State      Life Stage
                  1/3/2011             1       Ocean Springs                                                                   MS         Adult
                  1/4/2011             2       Cat Island                                                                      MS         Juvenile
                  1/15/2011            3       Dauphin Island                                                                  AL         Calf
                  1/17/2011            4       Dauphin Island                                                                  AL         Calf
                  1/28/2011            5       East Ship Island                                                                MS         Adult
                  1/29/2011            6       Gulf Shores                                                                     AL         Calf
                  1/31/2011            7       West Point Island, Dauphin Island                                               AL         Calf
                  2/6/2011             8        Ship Island                                                                    MS         Calf
                  2/7/2011             9       Dauphin Island at end of Ponchartrain Court                                     AL         Calf
                  2/7/2011            10       West Point Island, Dauphin Island                                               AL         Calf
                  2/7/2011            11       West Point Island, Dauphin Island                                               AL         Calf
                  2/8/2011            12       West Point Island, Dauphin Island                                               AL         Juvenile
                  2/10/2011           13       Orange Beach                                                                    AL         Calf
                  2/13/2011           14       Sand Island (off Petit Bois)                                                    MS         Adult
                  2/13/2011           15       Pascagoula                                                                      MS         Calf
                  2/14/2011           16       Pelican Island (off Dauphin Island)                                             AL         Calf
                  2/17/2011           17       Biloxi Beach                                                                    MS         Calf
                  2/18/2011           18       Horn Island                                                                     MS         Unk
                  2/18/2011           19       Horn Island                                                                     MS         Calf
                  2/18/2011           20       Gulf Shores                                                                     AL         Calf
                  2/20/2011           21       Dauphin Island                                                                  AL         Calf
                  2/20/2011           22       Biloxi                                                                          MS         Calf
                  2/21/2011           23       Gulfport                                                                        MS         Calf
                  2/21/2011           24       Dauphin Island                                                                  AL         Calf
                  2/22/2011           25       Horn Island                                                                     MS         Calf
                  2/22/2011           26       Horn Island                                                                     MS         Calf
                  2/22/2011           27       Horn Island                                                                     MS         Calf
                  2/22/2011           28       Horn Island                                                                     MS         Calf
                  2/22/2011           29       Gulf Shores                                                                     AL         Calf
                  2/23/2011           30       Weeks Bay                                                                       AL         Calf
                  2/24/2011           31       Singing River Island                                                            MS         Juvenile
                  2/24/2011           32       Dauphin Island                                                                  AL         Calf
                  2/25/2011           33       Pascagoula                                                                      MS         Calf
                  2/25/2011           34       Long Beach                                                                      MS         Calf
                  2/25/2011           35       Dauphin Island                                                                  AL         Calf
                                     IMMS Stranding Summary 2011   last updated March 16, 2011 at 9 am cst

2/25/2011   36   Horn Island                                          MS      Calf
2/25/2011   37   Horn Island                                          MS      Calf
2/26/2011   38   Cat Island                                           MS      Calf
2/27/2011   39   West Point Island, Dauphin Island                    AL      Calf
2/27/2011   40   West Point Island, Dauphin Island                    AL      Adult
2/27/2011   41   Mobile Bay                                           AL      Calf
2/27/2011   42   Gulfport                                             MS      Calf
2/28/2011   43   Gulfport                                             MS      Calf
2/28/2011   44   Pass Christian                                       MS      Calf
2/27/2011   45   Cat Island                                           MS      Adult
3/1/2011    46   Long Beach                                           MS      Calf
3/3/2011    47   Orange Beach                                         AL      Juvenile
3/3/2011    48   East Ship Island                                     MS      Calf
3/3/2011    49   East Ship Island                                     MS      Calf
3/4/2011    50   Pass Christian                                       MS      Juvenile
3/7/2011    51   Waveland                                             MS      Calf
3/5/2011    52   Cat Island                                           MS      Unk
3/10/2011   53   Pass Cristian                                        MS      Calf
3/12/2011   54   West Point Island, Dauphin Island                    AL      Adult
3/11/2011   55   Petit Bois Island                                    MS      Unk
3/13/2011   56   Ocean Springs                                        MS      Juvenile
3/12/2011   57   Dauphin Island                                       AL      Calf
3/14/2011   58   Ship Island                                          MS      Calf
3/14/2011   59   Ship Island                                          MS      Unk
3/14/2011   60   West Point Island, Dauphin Island                    AL      Calf
3/14/2011   61   West Point Island, Dauphin Island                    AL      Calf
3/15/2011   62   Perdido Bay                                          AL      pending

				
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