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Pick of the day: Gulf fishermen live with Big Oil

Just when you think a story is so big that every possible angle has been covered, a writer comes along with a new one. The story, in this case, is the oil spill in the Gulf. The writer is Joel Achenbach. Earlier this week, he wrote about the relationship between Gulf residents who make their living off the water and the multinational oil companies, in this case British Petroleum, that have brought this calamity to their shores.

As Joel explains, an outsider might expect to see acrimony in the match-up of "small fish versus Big Oil." But instead, what he discovers is that both fishing and oil are such a big presence in the lives of Gulf residents, that it's hard for many to be angry with BP.

Those competing loyalties can be seen in Martin Folse, whom Joel talked to during his visit to Port Fourchon, La.

Martin Folse, owner of an independent TV station called HTV, in Houma, has toured the spill by helicopter and shown long stretches of unedited footage revealing the oil already touching some of the islands west of the Mississippi. As grave as the situation is, though, he casts no blame.

"I can't sit here and criticize oil because I live in an area that oil has built. But seafood has built it, too. It's two very powerful industries that has been affected at one time," Folse said. "It's like watching two brothers fight. You can't pick a side. You gotta work with both sides."

Who knows what will happen as more oil comes ashore and lingers and the toll on the fishing industry and the environment increases. That may prove to be the real test.

By Annys Shin  | May 21, 2010; 9:14 AM ET
Categories:  Story Picks  
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