We are all horrified at how quickly the oil spill has spread and angered by how much time it has taken to get the leak plugged. The Louisiana Oil Spill is one of the largest man-made disasters of recent times. One whose effects will reverberate through the gulf economy for years to come. While the spill will setback the coastal Louisiana fishing industries for a period of time, it will also create a boon of local environmental cleanup jobs and could lead to more environmental related jobs in the future.

A History Lesson

History is a great teacher if we heed its lessons. In 1989, the Exxon Valdez spilled 53 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound, Alaska which devastated the local economy, 1300 square miles of ocean ecosystems and killed thousands (maybe millions) of wildlife. The clean up effort generated at least 11,000 local jobs and Exxon pumped more than $2.1 Billion to finance the effort. (See Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Facts). There are still a number of long-term research and restoration projects today. Scientists are restoring shoreline ecosystems and assessing the long-term effects  of the oil on animal populations. The states effected by the Deep Horizon Oil Spill can expect a similar situation.

A Look At Today’s Spill And The Jobs To Come

No one knows the final tally of the damages of the Louisiana Oil Spill but I want to give you some ideas of industries which will benefit from this disaster:

  1. Environmental Emergency Response: Many of these companies hold contracts with federal agencies, private industrial firms and state governments to deal with chemical spills and hazardous materials. One of company grew from 400 people to 1500 in 30 days. How is that for job growth?
  2. Water Treatment Industry: I am specifically citing those firms which make chemicals to disperse and treat oil laden water. If you troll, the stock market websites like CNBC (http://www.cnbc.com/id/36907210), these companies will be among the top gainers on the Dow, S&P and other exchanges. Some of these companies have to ramp up the manufacturing operations to meet the demand because the recession has forced them to cut production. Temporary and contract manufacturing jobs maybe around the corner.
  3. Environmental Law: There will be hundreds if not thousands of lawsuits against the responsible parties of the oil spill. Attorneys will need additional staff to handle the mountains of evidence needed to get a judgement. These suits typically take years to complete so there is potential for long-term employment.
  4. Damage Assessment Inspectors: Agencies such as EPA, FEMA, USGS, Army Corps of Engineers and US Coast Guard will have hundreds of people working the spill area to figure out what was damaged, how it was damaged and estimate cleanup costs. Although these jobs maybe temporary, a paid position could pay very well. In addition to federal inspectors, insurance companies environmental groups and the oil companies will have their people on the ground.  They will be looking for people with estimating/construction experience, high math aptitude and ability to work outdoors for extended periods of time.
  5. Oil and Gas Service Companies: There are a number of companies who provide emergency equipment and services such as divers, safety personnel firefighting and well capping  to the Oil & Gas industry who will benefit from the capping and cleanup efforts. I will explore this area more in future articles.

My hope is that we can get the people in place to contain the oil; clean the impacted area and restore the damaged ecosystems as soon as possible. Check our Hinton Human Capital products and services

Suggested Reading

3 Hot Certifications For Oil Spill and other Environmental Disasters

Fishermen Sign On to Clean Up Oil-NY Times

Cost of US Oil Spill

How Crisis and Disasters Mean Opportunity In Green,Environmental & Infrastructure Industries

Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Created 11,000 Local Clean Up Jobs

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