Video: Oil Waste and Debris Hidden All Over Grand Isle

This video, shot earlier this year, gives a glimpse of just how far we have to go before cleanup efforts are complete. And with each passing day, the chances fade that BP will ever fully restore our marshes, waters or shoreline as debris and waste blend further into the landscape. Watch the video and you’ll see what I mean.

Production Note: We had to block the faces of individuals in the video to protect their identities.

Al Walker, a charter boat fishing captain out of Mississippi, and his crew scour Grand Isle – an area that took a brutal hit from the spill. A small barrier island off the coast of Louisiana at the mouth of Barataria Bay, Grand Isle is a popular summer destination with a peak season population of more than 20,000. Capt. Walker – a highly decorated angler – has a warm spot in his heart for Grand Isle where the surrounding waters are home to nearly 300 species of fish. And he’s not alone in his affection, in 2010, Yahoo Travel listed Grand Isle as one of the country’s top-10 winter beach retreats.

It’s hard for me to stomach what Capt. Walker and his team found on the island. And, as he mentions in the video, there are miles of oil- and dispersant-soaked boom that still litter our marshes and coastline. On that point, BP is clearly in violation of the Clean Water Act. And we’re not likely to see much more progress due to the dwindling number of cleanup crews. At the peak of the cleanup, there were about 48,000 workers. That force has been cut to under 2,000. There is still much work to do, and BP must be held accountable for completing the cleanup.

A recent article in the Times-Picayune had this to say about the ongoing cleanup:

The news conference was held on Grand Isle’s beach, where a procession of four mechanical sand-sifters, or “sand Zambonies” as the crews call them, skimmed the top 2 to 3 inches of sand and sifted out any tarballs.

The dog-and-pony show last month on Grand Isle, of course, included no mention of the boom that lies hidden all over the island, but if cleanup workers don’t do a little better job getting into the weeds, we may have our coastline and marshes littered forever with remnants of this disaster.

© Smith Stag, LLC 2011 – All Rights Reserved

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