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Economic Fallout of Gulf Disaster Could Top $200 Billion

While the scale and extent of the oil blowout in the Gulf of Mexico are still unknown, the potential damage could mean a severe blow to the Gulf's $234 billion economy.

CNN Money examines previous studies on the Gulf economy and discovers that between impacts on tourism, fishing, shipping and the oil industry itself, the ongoing disaster in the Gulf could have very grave economic impacts.

"The four biggest industries in the Gulf of Mexico are oil, tourism, fishing and shipping, and they account for some $234 billion in economic activity each year, according to a 2007 study done by regional scholars and published by Texas A&M University Press. Two thirds of that amount is in the United States, with the other third in Mexico.

The government has already closed over 20% of federal waters for fishing activities and many of them are out of work.

While the number is small in terms of Gulf cost dollars, it does not factor in the impact a shut down in shipping could have, which could halt grain and other cargo from traveling up and down the Mississippi River. [B]oth the Harte study and the A&M report only look at the Gulf of Mexico. Yet there are reports that the oil is getting caught up in the so-called loop current, which could bring it up the eastern seaboard."

If the oil is carried around Florida and up the eastern seaboard, then the article suggests that "all bets are off."

Full Story: At risk: The Gulf's $234 billion economy

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