Photos document BP oil still contaminates "cleaned" Louisiana marshes, state officials say
Mark Schleifstein - The Times-Picayune
This excerpt is from The Times-Picayune
Wetland areas in north Barataria Bay and the Pass a Loutre Wildlife Management Area at the mouth of the Mississippi River continue to show signs of oil that state officials say is from the BP oil spill, according to photos posted on Flickr by the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority.
A set of photos posted this week show oil sheen and oil drops in and around reeds in Middle Ground, an area just inside the wildlife refuge.
A second set, taken in northern Barataria Bay on March 5, include photos of matted oil pulled from wetland soil that state officials said had been declared clean by Coast Guard and BP officials.
"These are places where we absolutely need long-term monitoring," said Olivia Watkins, an authority spokeswoman, in an email describing the Barataria Bay photos. The state has been critical of a decision by the Coast Guard and BP late last year to not require long-term monitoring for areas where clean-up operations were declared complete.Watkins said warm weather is now causing oil to bubble up in those cleaned areas.
A team of scientists with the National Wildlife Federation last week also found similar signs of oil at Bay Jimmy, also in the northern Barataria Bay area.
“There were a few patches in the marsh that were completely devoid of vegetation. They smelled like asphalt,” said the federation’s Alisha Renfro.