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The 90 Day Plan

Monday, May 10, 2010

SOS Oil Spill Update from Environmentalist James Pribram

May 10, 2010

Flying into New Orleans yesterday with the great Mississippi River below us, I couldn't help but wonder what type of impact the Gulf of Mexico oil spill would have on this area. I do know however that there is already a halt on all fishing and shrimping in effect in this area. Many of the local fisherman and their vessels are being hired to help in the cleanup efforts.

One interesting note is that five sea turtles have come up dead in the last few days with no evidence of oil contributing to their untimely deaths. Authorities here are speculating that because of the shrimping vessels being released one week early because of the impending oil spill, that rushing fisherman may have killed them accidentally as they raced against the clock against the soon-to-be halt on all fishing. Hard to imagine how many more sea turtles may be killed as the oil slick worsens.

After landing yesterday, Kristian Gustavson, who I am traveling with, and I headed to the Multiple Lines of Defense Lab at the University of New Orleans where we were briefed on the deep water horizon disaster, situation report by GIS (geographic information systems) coordinator Ezra Boyd.

Some mind-blowing figures are that an oil spill of this magnitude will cost

$285 million dollars for shoreline cleanup in Louisiana for 30 days. There are three basic ways to combat an oil spill: using oil booms, dispersants and absorbants, as well the more drastic measure of burning the oil itself, used in a major spill like this one.

Another interesting fact is that the only significant breakthrough in clean up efforts since the tragic Exxon Valdez spill of 1989 is that they now know that they can anchor the oil booms down which help keep them from splashing around. Right now Kristian and I are coordinating our efforts with the National Audubon Society, Waterkeeper alliance, and Louisiana State University.

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James Pribram

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