Will BP investigation bring area answers?

Months are likely to pass before plausible explanations surface as to why an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico blew out and eventually sunk.

Answers regarding the environmental impact are likely years away, although it is quite possible this catastrophe will cause far greater damage than Hurricane Katrina, especially to the increasingly fragile wetlands.

The explosion and its aftermath points out the complexities for a state dependent on the oil industry for its most significant source of revenue.

Admittedly, oil has always been Louisiana’s cash cow, especially in the southeastern region, where commercial fishing is the only other industry of any significance.

But the question now becomes at what price? Eleven lost lives, a major oil slick that is likely to cause incomprehensible damage, the additional erosion of the wetlands that once served as Southeast Louisiana’s last line of defense against approaching hurricanes. It is also critical to remember that unfettered dredging that was so pervasive for years has led to many of the wetlands issues.

It’s imperative for all parties involved, including state and federal governments, to put the oil industry under their collective investigative microscopes. Could this catastrophe have been avoided?

If so, why did it happen? Are the alleged governmental watchdogs not doing their jobs? Are more checks and balances required?

If the so-called blowout was unavoidable, the bigger issue becomes why not and what changes are required to avoid similar calamities?

Coastal residents can only watch with horror as the large slick continues its inexorable march toward their front doors.

Oil lobbyists spend more than the gross national product of many third world countries to assure they have congressmen in their pockets. The days of the oil industry acting irresponsibly must come to an end. Immediately.

The future of an entire region hangs in the balance.

– Daily News, Bogalusa, La.