Hurricane season bears down on BP Gulf oil spill
The season’s first tropical weather system is disrupting cleanup efforts and has raised the anxiety level along the Gulf Coast. Where's the emergency storm plan, some officials are asking?
Vice President Joe Biden arrived in New Orleans Tuesday for his first visit to the BP oil spill disaster zone just as the season’s first tropical weather system disrupted cleanup efforts and raised anxieties along the Gulf Coast.Skip to next paragraph
Meeting recently-unemployed seafood workers outside the closed Pome’s Seafood crab-processing plant in eastern New Orleans, Biden said the Obama administration will continue to support the Gulf region well after the out-of-control BP oil will is finally capped.
“We’re going to make it whole – we ain’t leaving,” said Biden.
Among other issues, Biden promised greater coordination between state and federal oversight of fishing waters in the Gulf affected in the spill, so fishermen will be able to more easily fish and sell their catch from waters deemed safe. Biden later traveled to Pensacola Beach, Florida. His visit to the Gulf is the most recent of over fifty trips by administration officials since the oil well disaster started in April.
In Louisiana, however, many local officials and residents continue to voice frustration over the official response, as anxieties rise over the specter of an oil-laden hurricane season. Although tropical storm Alex was five hundred miles away and not yet ranked as a hurricane, on Tuesday it kicked up fifteen foot seas and twenty-five mile an hour winds off Louisiana, pushing more oil ashore.
Local officials are frustrated
Just a few miles down Chef Mentur Highway from Pome’s Seafood, St. Tammany Parish president Kevin Davis was scrambling to protect Lake Pontchartrain from encroaching oil slicks. For weeks, the parish has been asking for approval to deploy a new type of oil absorbent boom, called X-Tex, which has been used successfully on the Mississippi coast, with no response from BP or the Coast Guard.
“We need to know who’s in charge and what role does the federal government play in this” said Davis.
“They need to be down here not just for a sound bite, but stay here until this job is finished,” he said.