Cleanup Response Continues to Be Stunningly Inadequate in Louisiana Marshes


Imagine if a major new spill hit more than 100 miles of Louisiana coastline and state officials could not get the responsible companies to clean it up. Outrageous, right?

So it’s exceedingly difficult to understand the current ho-hum attitude toward large swaths of fragile Gulf coastline that remain oil-soaked from the BP spill. There’s another good story about it in the Advocate. Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser made news with a trip into the marsh last week, but overall the response has been – and continues to be – nothing less than pathetic.

In some places, huge amounts of oil linger just under the surface. And it remains to be seen what the spring will bring.

The Advocate quotes Garret Graves, director of the Louisiana governor’s office of coastal activities, as saying the the most heavily oiled areas are mostly west of the Mississippi River and that “…right now, we still have more than a hundred miles that is still active with oil on it.”

In areas of marsh, where it’s thought that oil killed much of the plant life, preserving coast line will be an increasingly difficult and expensive challenge. Other areas face hidden oil deposits.

In places like East Grand Terre Island, officials are reporting that a layer of oil lies about 9 inches below the surface. On Grand Isle, oil has been found as deep as 22 inches. Reports of buried oil are coming in from all over the Gulf.

Into that context BP responds with its most recent effort – new ads featuring apparent winners of the damage claims lottery. Maybe our capacity for true outrage has just been worn down by these guys? Because this is really too much.

The Advocate story by Amy Wold is here:

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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