Readers see long process lies ahead for recovery

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 23, 2010

By David Vitrano


LAPLACE – With oil still spewing into the Gulf of Mexico unabated and some experts estimating the amount that has already leaked may be as much as 100 times the amount originally thought, hopes for a quick end to the ordeal have all but faded from the minds of those in Louisiana and across the nation.

As many offshore fishing grounds have already closed, tar balls have begun to wash up as far away as Panama City Beach, Fla., and more and more footage of oiled or dead animals splash across television screens daily, it is clear an ecological disaster is unfolding in the waters off the coast of Louisiana.

Accordingly, last week L’Observateur asked its readers how long they thought it would take for the region to recover from the disaster.

Many voters took a middling approach to the question, with over one-third saying they thought the region would take five to 10 years to recover.

Although opinions differed widely, a great number of voters tended toward the pessimistic. Over one-fifth thought the region would require 10 to 20 years to get back to normal. What’s more, an equal number thought that it would either take over 20 years for a full recovery or that the region would never fully recover from the incident.

At the other end of the spectrum, nearly one quarter of respondents thought the ordeal could be over within five years although not a single voter thought it would happen in less than a year.

A full breakdown of responses follows:

• 0 percent of respondents chose “Less than one year.”

• 10 percent of respondents chose “One to three years.”

• 14 percent of respondents chose “Three to five years.”

• 34 percent of respondents chose “Five to 10 years.”

• 21 percent of respondents chose “10 to 20 years.”

• 7 percent of respondents chose “More than 20 years.”

• 14 percent of respondents chose “The region will never fully recover.”