Archive | October, 2010

Fishermen Report Louisiana Bays Filled With Oil

Oiled marsh in Bay Jimmy, Louisiana. (Photo: Erika Blumenfeld)

Oiled marsh in Bay Jimmy, Louisiana. (Photo: Erika Blumenfeld)

On Saturday, October 23, Truthout spotted what appeared to be massive areas of weathered oil floating near Louisiana’s fragile marshlands in both East and West Bays along the Mississippi River Delta. In addition, at least two more oil leaks were spotted near oil and gas platforms along Louisiana’s embattled coastline.

Four days prior, federal on-scene cleanup coordinator for the BP oil disaster, Coast Guard Rear Adm. Paul Zukunft, declared there was little recoverable surface oil in the Gulf of Mexico.

Both Bays cover an area of roughly 70 square miles of open water that surround Southwest Pass, the main shipping channel of the Mississippi River. While East Bay remains closed for fishing, West Bay was currently open for fishing when Truthout spotted the substance on October 23, despite the fact that the day before a BP oil cleanup crew had reported oil in West Bay to a local newspaper.

“They are literally shrimping in oil,” Jonathan Henderson, the coastal resiliency organizer of the environmental group the Gulf Restoration Network, who was with Truthout on the flight, exclaimed while our plane flew near the fishermen.

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BP dispersants ‘causing sickness’

Denise Rednour of Long Beach, Mississippi, has been sick with chemical poisoning since July (Photo: Erika Blumenfeld)

Denise Rednour of Long Beach, Mississippi, has been sick with chemical poisoning since July (Photo: Erika Blumenfeld)

Two-year-old Gavin Tillman of Pass Christian, Mississippi, has been diagnosed with severe upper respiratory, sinus, and viral infections. His temperature has reached more than 39 degrees since September 15, yet his sicknesses continues to worsen.

His parents, some doctors, and environmental consultants believe the child’s ailments are linked to exposure to chemicals spilt by BP during its Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.

Gavin’s father, mother, and sister, Shayleigh, are also facing serious health problems. Their symptoms are being experienced by many others living along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico.

Widely banned toxic dispersants

Injected with at least 4.9 million barrels of oil during the BP oil disaster of last summer, the Gulf has suffered the largest accidental marine oil spill in history. Compounding the problem, BP has admitted to using at least 1.9 million gallons of widely banned toxic dispersants, which according to chemist Bob Naman, create an even more toxic substance when mixed with crude oil. And dispersed, weathered oil continues to flow ashore daily.

Read the rest of the story at Al Jazeera Online.

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Despite Heavy Oil, Louisiana Keeps Fisheries Open

Weathered BP oil in bays near Southwest Pass, Louisiana. (Erika Blumenfeld/IPS)

Weathered BP oil in bays near Southwest Pass, Louisiana. (Erika Blumenfeld/IPS)

NEW ORLEANS – Massive slicks of weathered oil were clearly visible near Louisiana’s fragile marshlands in both the East and West Bays of the Mississippi River Delta during an overflight that included an IPS reporter on Oct. 23. The problem is that, despite this, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has left much of the area open for fishing.

Four days prior, on Oct. 19, federal on-scene cleanup coordinator for the BP oil disaster, Coast Guard Rear Adm. Paul Zukunft, declared there was little recoverable surface oil in the Gulf of Mexico.

Both bays cover an area of roughly 112 square kilometres of open water that surround the Southwest Pass, the main shipping channel of the Mississippi River. While East Bay remains closed for fishing, West Bay was open for fishing when IPS spotted the oil on Oct. 23, despite the fact that the day before a BP oil cleanup crew had reported oil in West Bay to a local newspaper.

“They are literally shrimping in oil,” Jonathan Henderson, the Coastal Resiliency Organiser for the environmental group Gulf Restoration Network, who was also on the flight, exclaimed as our plane flew over shrimpers trawling in the oil-covered area.

Others remain concerned about the use of toxic dispersants that BP has used to sink the oil.

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