Lacy MacAuley

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a home for my pen, projects, and passions

day 3 of the DC to New Orleans bus tour!

Flux Rostrum protests at a BP gas station in Greenville, Alabama.

I am typing this log, looking over the edge of my laptop, past Flux Rostrum at the driver’s wheel, and looking down at the highway in front of me.  It is Monday, Day 3 of the Washington DC to New Orleans Mobile Broadcast News bus tour, protesting BP all along the way.

Today has been a journey. We started north of Atlanta, Georgia. Last night we were up late driving south, stopping at a BP station in Gastonia, North Carolina. It was closed, since it was so late. We figured we’d like to see more gas stations closed like this, or changed to wind and solar power facilities. Down the road, we stopped at Bastion, South Carolina, where we witnessed someone actually driving through the BP parking lot to go to another gas station across the street. We crossed the road to talk to the guy, and he said that he drove through because he was avoiding BP because they caused the oil spill that devastated the coast.

After waking up in Georgia, we stopped for a quick morning coffee, I wrote a blog rant about l and got on the road. With a massive 90-gallon tank full of vegetable oil, we weren’t expecting to have to stop for gas, unless it was to protest. BP is responsible for the oil disaster that is getting worse and worse in the Gulf. They need to pay reparations and be held accountable. I firmly believe that Tony Hayward should be put in jail.

Rolling the bus into a BP gas station.

Pulling into a gas station in Noonan, Georgia, we boldly pulled up into the BP parking lot. I walked up to the gas pumps, where several people were pumping gas, and asked folks to raise their hands if they wanted to hold BP accountable for the oil spill. With the demure of good Southern belles, they politely ignored this question. I pointed out that if they wanted to hold BP accountable, the best way would be to stop using fossil fuels. Not long after, a woman with shockingly blonde hair and a cordless telephone came out to us, waving the phone and telling us in a lovely Southern accent that she was “goin’ ta call 911.” We told her we had nothing against her or small businesses, just BP, and we scurried back into the bus and took off.

We stopped at a small BP station in Greenville, Alabama, for a brief picket, just as it was starting to rain. It was a tiny station with handmade signs in the bathrooms. Now I am a fan of small, locally-owned businesses, but the truth of the matter is that this gas station is selling poison, through and through, and like all the rest of the world, they have got to make the transition to clean, safe, sustainable energy. It’s not fair to them, to us, or to anyone else not to hold them accountable for what they do. So  got out our picket signs, our megaphone, and for a few minutes talked about what BP means to us. When the rain drops got bigger, we retreated to the bus and rolled out.

After that it was straight on to Pensacola. One of the best things about this bus is that it requires so little refueling. The rest of the day was looking over the dashboard at the open road until we reached Pensacola.

Pensacola was an adventure. When we got there, we made a pit stop and then tried to head out to head out to Perdido Key, which seemed on the map like a point where oil would make landfall. We had also heard some whisperings that Obama might be somewhere around that area, especially the military base. So we steered the bus in that direction. As it happened, we only got stuck in a long line of traffic trying to get there. I tried to proceed on foot out to the beach, and was stopped by a police officer. I was there with the officer and other frustrated onlookers when a big motorcade went by the likes of which is not often seen, even in Washington DC. Filming the little encounter, I shouted at the motorcade, “President Obama, whose ass are you going to kick?” and “President Obama, stop letting BP off the hook! You need to be stronger!” After all was said and done I went back to the bus and we continued to the beach.

In the rolling clear waves, there were abundant fish and crabs.

Looking into the rolling waves, standing on sand as white as paper and powdery and soft as a pillow, I wondered what would happen to this place if (when?) oil makes landfall. Looking into the water, I spotted schools of fish – some sand-colored and bigger than my thumb, some small, shiny and green, some tiny and black. There were crabs the size of salad plates and herons standing stoicly in the surf, waiting to snag a morsel for dinner. Looking behind me through the dunes, I saw trees fifty feet tall where the herons roost, and the rolling dunes were covered in soft green foliage. What would happen to this if the oil were to splash up here?

Abundant heron call this beach home.

We’re now on a tiny road on the beach just outside Pensacola, Florida. The beach, called Perdido Bay. It’s almost nine o’clock and we’re going to have some Mexican food and perhaps a cold cerveza and call it a day.

Mobile Broadcast News hits the BP protest again tomorrow!

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Filed under: activism, climate justice, environmentalism, human welfare, lacy's life, media, thoughts and philosophies

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