Plaquemines president: Oil spill may already be on La.'s coast

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by Paul Murphy / Eyewitness News

wwltv.com

Posted on April 29, 2010 at 4:00 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 29 at 6:30 PM

VENICE, La. -- Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser said based on his observations from a Coast Guard helicopter just a short while ago, the spill could be hitting the Mississippi River Delta now.

Responders played beat the clock Thursday, trying to get as much containment boom out in the marsh before the oil hits the Louisiana coast.

According to the Coast Guard, all of the oil spill fighting equipment they could muster is now on the Gulf Coast being deployed as soon as it hits the dock.

In Venice more than 100,000 feet of containment boom is already in place, protecting environmentally sensitive areas now in the path of the spill.

Coast Guard chief Rob Birdwell said responders are now preparing for the worst case scenario.

“The effort here is to really minimize the impact,” Birdwell said. A lot of the booming that’s set up, is set up to divert the oil or deflect the oil around certain areas.

Areas like Pass a Loutre, Brenton Sound and the Delta National Wildlife Refuge, home of nesting birds and about half of the nation’s seafood.

Sport fisherman Steve Kennedy said there’s too much oil out there not to impact Plaquemines Parish.

“I don’t think there’s a whole heck of a lot they can do to protect the coast,” Kennedy said. “I think we’re going to have an issue with it. There’s more oil out there than they can contain.”

Kennedy said the spill will be disaster all around.

“It’s going to impact the redfish, speckled trout. It’s impacting the sports fishing industry, the seafood industry, the shrimpers, the oystermen. It’s been a tough few years and this isn’t helping,” Kennedy said.

The Coast Guard says once the oil comes in, crews will kick into full response mode and begin mopping up the mess as soon as possible.

“We have contractors coming in with all of the equipment needed to flush out the oil and contain it, collect it and dispose of it,” Birdwell said.

Again, Plaquemines officials tell us the leading edge of the spill is just offshore. Response crews plan to work through the night to keep oil away from those environmentally sensitive areas.

 

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