Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Oil Now in All Five Gulf States, Plus Lake Pontchartrain

Tar balls rolling up on the shores of Texas have now definitively provided proof that the oil from the BP spill has reached all five states in the Gulf of Mexico. Perhaps more troubling is the fact that oil is also seeping into Lake Pontchartrain, in New Orleans, creating yet another environmental catastrophe for a lake that had just barely recovered from pollution from the 1990s. After being a source of great consternation, the lake was cleaned up to the point that it had once again become a popular destination for boatingswimming and fishing. Now, that may all be in the past.

Noted Pete Gerica, president of the Lake Pontchartrain Fisherman’s Association, "Our universe is getting very small." Apparently, the July 4 weekend saw tar balls and oil rush by lines of barges intended to block the connection from the Gulf to the lake. The oil that was pushed into the lake apparently was aided significantly on its way by winds from Hurricane Alex, though the storm itself was very far away.

At this point, there appears to be very little oil contaminating the 600 square mile lake, though concerns are that the level will rise. Tests of seafood indicate that there has been no oil contamination of wildlife, but many are worried nonetheless. Said Brian Lezina, a biologist for the state of Louisiana, "You won’t hear songs about a lot of the marshes in south Louisiana, but you will hear songs about Lake Pontchartrain." The news is bad for a lake that seemingly overcame impossible odds to be reclaimed. Said John Lopez, a scientist involved in the restoration efforts, "Even the people involved in the restoration didn’t believe it could be restored. It was completely written off. It was thought to be an impossible task. It has been a dramatic turnaround."

BP Deflects Most Blame for Oil Spill in Initial Investigation