Thick oil washing ashore Elmer's Island

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by Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News

wwltv.com

Posted on May 20, 2010 at 2:30 PM

Updated Thursday, May 20 at 5:27 PM

GRAND ISLE, La. -- It is exactly what people in the town of Grand Isle didn't want to see. Wednesday, from all indications, the oil was 14-miles offshore. But on Thursday, it’s on the beach – not sheen, not tar balls, but thick oil washing ashore on Elmer’s Island.

Jefferson Parish leaders got a first hand look.

See photos of oil hitting Elmer's Island

“We're in the middle of a fight now. If not a matter of if it's going to come or which ways the tides and the currents or the winds or going to blow it,” said Councilman Tom Capella. “The oil is here. We're in Jefferson Parish. It's on.”

Gov. Bobby Jindal toured lower Jefferson Parish by air. He said as bad as it looks, it could be a lot worse.

The Louisiana National Guard recently filled in a 700-foot cut on the island with sand and rocks.

“If this land bridge wasn't here, this oil would go right through and nothing's stopping it from getting into those wetlands,” Jindal said.

The governor wants to do the same thing on barrier islands further offshore. The Army Corps of Engineers has yet to approve the state's dredging and island building plan.

“We've been in many meetings with the Corps. We want them to get off their butts. Excuse my French. I'm telling you, you got to give us a permit because where we plugged up the dam on Elmer's Island, it works,” said Grand Isle Mayor David Camardelle.

Some oil did make it past the beach into Caminata Pass. Sheen and orange pieces of oil floated past camps near the foot of the Grand Isle bridge.

“All my renters, they're not going to come. I got four places and I got to give them all back their money,” said Diane Cheramie, a Grand Isle camp owner.

“It's just unacceptable. BP, a month later, is still inept in containing this oil and cleaning up this oil,” said Jefferson Parish Councilman John Young.

74-year old Janet Guilliot wonders how many more fish she'll catch at her favorite spot.

“When you've been here for so long, and you get to see something like this, the waters being polluted with oil, what can you say?” Guilliot said. “It’s just devastating.

Today we see the worst of the oil in Jefferson Parish, here on Elmers Island, but tomorrow, it's anybody's guess. As one parish leader put it today, coastal Louisiana is under attack and the enemy is on the beach.

 

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