Emulsified oil, oil mousse and tar balls from an unknown source were washing up on beaches from Grand Isle to West Timbalier Island along the Gulf of Mexico, a stretch of about 30 miles, and it was still heading west Monday afternoon, a Louisiana official said. The state is testing the material to see if it matches oil from last April's BP Deepwater Horizon disaster.
Oil spill response workers under the direction of the U.S. Coast Guard and state officials were scrambling to block more of the material from coming ashore. ES&H Corp. has been hired to oversee the cleanup.
"We are working with our state and local partners to mitigate any further environmental impact while continuing to facilitate the safe movement of marine traffic to the fullest extent possible," Capt. Jonathan Burton, the federal on-scene coordinator for the response, said in a news release late Monday.
"To avoid delays in resource availability and delivery, we have taken a forward leaning approach and authorized ES&H to procure whatever additional boom and resources they need," Burton said.
Yeah at this point, nobody seems to know where the oil is coming from. But if it's coming from Deepwater Horizon, that would pretty much be the icing on the Giant Crap Cake for the month of March. Even worse, we may never know where the oil is coming from. There are thousands of oil rigs out in the Gulf of Mexico. You'd think somebody might notice the pressure drop, but hey...if I'm the oil industry, I keep my mouth shut.
You think the government has time to prove anything, or that Republicans and Gulf state Dems are going to push for an investigation right now with a war on, Japan in the soup, and Europe about to follow?
Yeah, neither did I. As always, the best coverage on this comes from MoJo's excellent field reporter Mac McClelland, who's back in Louisiana asking a lot of questions.
For the last several days, oil from a 30-mile slick has been washing up in the highly appetizing forms of "emulsified oil, oil mousse, and tar balls" on beaches in southeastern Louisiana including Grand Isle, where I spent last summer covering the BP oil spill. Local officials and the Coast Guard are investigating the source. Meanwhile, yesterday the government approved the first deepwater exploration plan since BP's massive blowout last year. Earlier this month, it also approved the first deepwater drilling permit since the post-Deepwater moratorium. Both permits are for an area where there's already so much oil-production activity that when a 30-mile oil spill appears, no one can tell where it came from.
I'll be keeping an eye on this one. Don't expect the rest of the Village to follow.