More than eight months after an oil rig explosion launched the biggest oil disaster in U.S. history, Louisiana officials say they’re still finding thick layers of oil along parts of the state’s coastline.
By the CNN Wire Staff | CNN.com
“Every day, this shoreline is moving inland,” lessening flood protection for residents, Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser said.
On Friday, Robert Barham, secretary of Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, joined Nungesser on a tour of portion of Louisiana’s coastline still heavily oiled by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, according to a statement from the wildlife and fisheries department.
“It has been eight months since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, and five months since the well was capped. While workers along the coast dedicated themselves to cleaning up our shores there is still so much to be done,” Barham said in the statement.
During a walking tour of an area called Bay Jimmy, Nungesser said oil can be seen from a distance.
“When the tide is out … you can see thick oil onto the water for 30, 40 feet out,” the parish president said. “There’s been no mechanism to clean that up thus far.”
At one point on Friday, Nungesser began cursing at U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Dan Lauer.
“It seems like the federal agencies and the Coast Guard is there protecting BP. You guys ought to be as angry as me, that we don’t have more people out here doing this,” Nungesser said.
Lauer said officials are trying to determine the best way to rid the oil while considering long-term effects of cleanup techniques.
“The main thing we want to make sure of is … in trying to get this oil out that we don’t kill the rest of the isle — that we don’t do more damage to the environment long-term than the good we would do from removing this oil right now, ” Lauer said.
“Clearly, there is oil. Clearly, this is heavily oiled marsh. But we are working together in a team,” Lauer said. “No one is walking away. Clearly these are high priorities. But there are different phases in different areas.”
Louisiana officials said biologists have found several oiled birds in the past few days, including at least two dead brown pelicans. The wildlife and fisheries department also said oiled boom remains in “numerous locations, forgotten or lost by contractors charged with their maintenance and removal.”
“We will continue to try to work with BP, their contractors and federal officials to come up with reasonable, effective solutions for treating and restoring our coastline,” Barham said. “But we won’t step back while officials pack their bags and leave Louisiana. We’re hopeful that we can reach an agreement for the next steps in our recovery plan.”