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article imageState of Emergency declared as oil spill nears Louisiana coast

By Stephanie Dearing     Apr 29, 2010 in Environment
It's only a matter of hours now before the oil spill from the Deepwater Horizon well reaches the Louisiana shores. It's thought that around 5,000 barrels of oil are leaking from the well.
Gulf coast residents are preparing for the worst as the oil slick, now approximately 120 miles in size is pushed ever closer to shore.
Hundreds of species of animals, both marine and coastal inhabitants, are threatened by the approach of the oil slick, which is expected to hit shore on late Thursday or early Friday. Bobby Jindal, Louisiana's Governor, declared a state of emergency late Thursday. The declaration states "... a minimum of 10 additional state and national wildlife management areas and wildlife refuges in Louisiana and Mississippi are in the direct path of the oil plume and can be expected to be impacted. The Barataria-Terrebonne Estuary, Biloxi Wildlife Management Area, the Breton National Wildlife Refuge, Buccaneer State Park (MS), the Sandhill Crane National Wildlife Refuge (MS), the Gulf Islands National Seashore National Park (MS), Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge National Wildlife Refuge (MS), and Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge (MS) are all in the direct path of the plume."
President Barack Obama has sent the Secretary of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano and the Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar to the Gulf Coast today. In a press conference held at the White House Thursday, Napolitano told the US public the White House was concerned with the oil spill, saying "This is a spill of national significance. We will continue to push BP to engage in the strongest response possible."
One of the locations that will most likely be slimed with oil is Louisiana fishing capital, Venice, and millions of dollars worth of fishing is at risk from the spill. Shrimp fishermen have already filed a lawsuit against BP, alleging negligence.
VENICE  La. - U.S. Environmental Services’ workers move oil-absorbent pads into a warehouse at a p...
VENICE, La. - U.S. Environmental Services’ workers move oil-absorbent pads into a warehouse at a pollution control staging area in Venice, La., April 27, 2010. Staging areas are being set up along the Gulf Coast to actively identify, target and protect environmentally and economically sensitive areas.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Patrick Kelley.
BP's Group Chief Executive said in a press release issued Thursday, "... We are attacking this spill on all fronts, bringing into play all and any resources and advanced technologies we believe can help. Our action plan is safety-focused, multi-layered and has the full resources of the BP Group behind it.
The scale of the surface response is truly unprecedented, both for BP and for the oil industry. At the seabed, we are applying all the resources available to us and also developing and adapting advanced technology to address this complex problem."
A plan has been drafted to protect the coast. Workers have laid out more than 100,000 feet of boom in the past two days to stop the oil from hitting shore. The problem is that there is not enough boom. BP has listed numerous other actions that are either being implemented now, or will be put into place in the near future to stop the oil leaks as well as disperse and clean up the oil contaminating the Gulf of Mexico waters both on the surface and at the seabed level. However, many of the actions that can be implemented to stop and contain the oil spill will take weeks, if not longer, to put into place. BP figures the clean-up is costing approximately $6 million a day so far.
BP's safety record has been somewhat nebulous, but was said to be "improving," after a 2005 explosion in Texas at a refinery. However, BP and other major oil companies opposed new regulations that would have meant better protections put into place for the environment and workers. In a letter written by BP in 2009 to US Minerals Management Service to voice opposition to the proposed new rules said "... we are not supportive of the extensive prescriptive regulations as proposed in this rule. We believe industry's current safety and environmental statistics demonstrate that the voluntary programs implemented since the adoption of API RP 75 have been and continue to be very successful."
Shell has jumped in to help contain and clean-up the spill, joining the State of Louisiana, the US Coast Guard, BP, Transocean, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Minerals Managment Service.
Ron Gouget, who used to head up an oil spill response team for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) criticized the handling of the oil spill, saying controlled burns of surface oil should have been done days ago.
The spill is shaping up to be the worst ever for the USA. It can be seen from space.
The winds are pushing the slick towards shore.
More about Bobby jindal, State emergency louisiana, Deepwater horizon, Oil spill, Gulf of Mexico
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