Environmental Specialist Gary Chittim: Gulf Coast covered with Northwest boom

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by KING5.com

NWCN.com

Posted on May 17, 2010 at 7:00 AM

Updated Monday, May 17 at 7:01 AM

GRAND ISLAND, La. - Nervous spectators are closely watching crews sealing off the entrance to sensitive wetlands and Bayous at the Southern tip of the Mississippi Delta. The crews are laying out boom in an effort to stop any oil from reaching the environmentally sensitive area.

Much of the boom the crews are using was brought in from the Pacific Northwest. Washington State is a national leader in stockpiling boom as a way of protecting Puget Sound. Louisiana is now benefiting from that commitment.

Further out at sea, where British Petroleum contractors are corralling and burning pockets of oil from the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster, there is more Northwest boom at work.

Mid-Mountain Materials of Arlington, Wash. is the only provider of fireproof boom used in those operations.

On special assignment on the Gulf Coast, we saw crews from around the nation stretching boom and patrolling beaches. We found small, fist sized blobs of red oil dotting some beaches, but the big oil slathering that many fear has not happened.

On Sunday, we found a shrimp boat that had oil stained shrimp on board that the captain said he encountered Friday night. We also found a thin sheen on a Bayou near the fishing village of Cocodrie. Fishermen are frustrated that they keep losing their fishing grounds to closures but say they are still able to provide tremendous fishing opportunities in the deep bayous where no oil has surfaced. 

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