Wathen, an environmental investigator and clean-water advocate for Perry County, Alabama, has worked extensively on the coal-ash issue that has affected his home area. He is involved with a number of environmental Web sites, including creekkeeper.blogspot.com.
Wathen is at the heart of bpoilslick.blogspot.com, one of the best sites on the Web for keeping up with the disaster.
The Locust Fork News-Journal named Wathen its 2009 Local Person of the Year. Writes Glynn Wilson:
As for the local Southern scene, there is really only one story worth mentioning on the environment front, and that is the massive TVA coal ash spill in Tennessee that is now creating havoc in Alabama’s Black Belt. Why this story does not rate more national, regional and local attention is beyond me, although one of the top rated and highest circulation news sites in the country had the foresight to make it the lead story on Christmas day.
Who is the person most responsible for helping to bring this story out of the darkness and into the light? Our local person of the year is Hurricane Creekkeeper John Wathen of Tuscaloosa, who deserves the credit for being more of a bona fide environmental activist than all the other fine people working for all the other non-profit organizations in the state.
Here’s to you John.
Wathen's footage of the BP spill almost brings tears to your eyes. In stark detail, it shows the devastation that already has occurred and indicates that it is likely to get much worse.
In his commentary, Wathen says "the Gulf appears to be bleeding." Indeed it does.