Hurricane Alex pushes oil onto Gulf coast beaches
Hurricane Alex has made Gulf coast beaches particularly vulnerable. "With this weather, we lost all the progress we made," says scientist.
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"It's good news because there is less on the surface," Higgens said. "It's surface oil that washes up on the beaches."
Jefferson Parish Council member Chris Roberts said the oil was entering passes Tuesday at Barataria Bay, home to diverse wildlife. A day earlier, barges that had been placed in the bay to block the oil were removed because of rough seas. Boom was being displaced and had to be repositioned, he said in an e-mail.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement said 28 platforms and three rigs in the path of the storm in the western Gulf have been evacuated. Still in the water are vessels being used to capture or burn spewing oil and gas and those drilling relief wells that officials say are the best hope for stopping the leak for good.
Hurricane warnings were posted for parts of the coast along Mexico and Texas. Except for the border area itself, though, most of the warning area is lightly populated.
So far, between 70 million gallons (268 million liters) and 137 million gallons (520 million liters) of oil have spewed into the Gulf from the broken BP well, according to government and BP estimates. The higher estimate is enough oil to fill half of New York's Empire State Building with oil.
More containment help could be arriving after the storm lets up. Mexico, Norway, Holland and Japan are providing skimmers; Canada is providing containment boom; and Croatia is pitching in with technical advice. Only one offer has been rejected, according to the chart. Dispersant chemicals offered by France are not approved for use in the U.S.
The U.S. rarely faces a disaster of such magnitude that it requires international aid, though it did accept assistance after Hurricane Katrina.
- Tropical Storm Alex strengthens, hurricane watch in effect for US and Mexico
- Tropical Storm Alex could bring good news to Gulf oil spill?
- Hurricane Alex, first of 2010 season, heads for Texas, Mexico