With new oil sightings, concerns about response manpower continue

Print
Email
|

by Scott Satchfield / Eyewitness News

wwltv.com

Posted on September 14, 2010 at 10:50 PM

PLAQUEMINES, La. -- Crews continue working daily on the oil spill response effort across South Louisiana. But there are concerns about the effectiveness of the mission, and some local leaders blame a cut back in the amount of vessels and manpower.

One member of an oil spill recovery team, who asked us to hide his identity, said he's seen first-hand examples of how a reduction in resources is causing problems.

"There's been oil called in -- captains pulled aside -- they called it in, waited, waited, and no one responded,” the worker said. “And then, there's officials that are marching from BP, demobilizing the skimmer boats and no one will send us out there to work 'em."

It's a concern in Plaquemines Parish where Tuesday officials sent us new photos of oil contamination in several locations like Bay Jimmy and Bay Long.

And while the investigation begins into a massive fish kill in the parish, Plaquemines President Billy Nungesser says it's clear -- manpower is needed.

"The federal Wildlife and Fisheries pulled out,” he said. “They let all the boats, they had on lease, local fishermen, they let them go. And so, they're pulling out of Plaquemines Parish, and we've got all these fish dying."

The anonymous worker we talked with says he's frustrated with the situation.

"(I feel) helpless, like my hands are tied. Future generations are gonna have water that they can't fish in," he said. "My biggest concern is there's five miles by 30 miles out there that was reported and no one responded. The Coast Guard said for days that they wanted to run tests, and if they don't test it when it's called in, they'll never find it."

A spokesman with the Joint Information Center disputes those claims, saying if oil is reported, crews are sent out to respond.

But the recovery worker said that response is lacking.

"They said they was gonna stay here and make it right, they need to make it right,” he said. “They made this mess. It's from the cradle to the grave. When you spill the oil, you clean the oil up, you don't disperse. We're a recovery team, not a cover team."

A spokesman at the Joint Information Center said there are still more than 25,000 people working on the response and recovery effort, along with more than 1,000 vessels.

He said the work will continue until the mission is complete.

 

Print
Email
|