When people debate offshore drilling, the subject is usually the impact on the beaches. Wetlands seldom are mentioned. But now that a gigantic oil spill is oozing ashore on the Louisiana coast, it's the coastal wetlands there that are bearing the brunt of it.
What will we miss when we lose this swampy landscape to the creeping spill? According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, that area is "one of the world's most productive fish and wildlife habitats." In fact, it "produces the largest total seafood landings in the lower 48 states, is a vital wintering or resting spot for more than 70 percent of the nation's waterfowl, is used by all 110 neo-tropical migratory songbirds, and produces 50 percent of the nation's wild shrimp crop, 35 percent of its blue claw crabs and 40 percent of its oysters."
Some would say Louisiana's oil industry has been slowly destroying those coastal wetlands for years, so this spill just speeds up the process. Given President Obama's recently stated intention to open up even more of the Gulf of Mexico to offshore drilling, chances are any wetlands that survive this oil spill will be at risk from still more destruction. Somebody call Joni Mitchell a taxi.