It’s been a rough few weeks for Gulf Coast residents.
The first snowstorms hit Friday, and then Hurricane Isaac came along on Sunday.
But the region has since been able to stay open for business, with a total of 18 days of cleanings since the hurricane.
“That’s not the norm,” says Michael Hester, director of research and policy at the Gulf Coast Institute, a research and advocacy group.
“People are still cleaning up.
People are still doing some maintenance and repairing.””
We’re still seeing people cleaning up their cars and things, but that’s a relatively small portion of the total,” he adds.
Hester says the region is getting used to the idea of spring cleaning.
“We are seeing people taking their lawns, and they are getting rid of things they don’t need,” he says.
Hesters says the industry is also getting used this year to the influx of new oil and gas activity.
“The number of oil and natural gas rigs has doubled in the last four years,” he said.
“So it’s been difficult for us to get the numbers right.
We need to get them right again.”
The state has been the scene of a boom for oil and chemical companies, who have been looking for places to dump the waste they have dumped in the Gulf for years.
“You can’t go back and find that much waste, so it’s become a dumping ground,” Hester says.
The state has also seen a lot of oil spills, which has led to some of the biggest oil spills in the country.
“You have a lot more oil than you know what to do with,” Hesters says.
The biggest spill occurred in February, when a tanker ran aground on the Texas coast.
The Exxon Valdez broke apart, spilling 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf.
Hester thinks the spill may have been a sign that the Gulf is ready to see some of those oil spills.
“It’s not just the number of spills, but the amount of spills,” he explains.
“That’s one of the things we really need to focus on in terms of oil production.”
While the region’s oil and chemicals industry is booming, many are also looking to expand their business.
Some are moving into areas where they can find new customers.
“There are many people who are looking to start their own oil and coal industry in the state of Texas,” Hesse says.
It’s also not all good news for residents of Houston.
A large pipeline owned by BP was damaged in an oil spill in May, and many residents have been asking for the oil to be returned to the Gulf, but BP hasn’t responded to calls for help.
“They have refused to pay the damages,” Hessel says.
The Gulf has been in the news recently for the second time in three weeks.
Hurricane Isaac forced a stop to oil drilling in the area, and there have been some oil spills there, but none that have led to any deaths.
Meanwhile, Houston and other parts of Texas have been hit by some of their worst flooding in years.
A severe storm hit Houston in August and destroyed the city, leaving more than a million people homeless.
While Houston has seen some of its worst flooding, Hester expects the region to rebound quickly.
“In the last few weeks, we’ve seen more rainfall than we’ve had in years,” Hestes says.
“I think we will be able to return to normal by the end of the month.”
Hester has been able see a recovery in the region, and says the state has more to look forward to in the future.
“After Isaac, the Gulf will get back to normal,” he predicts.
“And then we will see how that works out.”
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