Officials give rosy view on oil spill recovery efforts

04/28/10 Kate Bradshaw
WMNF Drive-Time News Wednesday | Listen to this entire show:

Today officials from British Petroleum and several government agencies updated the press on their latest efforts to curb the impacts of the growing oil slick in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. US Coast Guard Rear Admiral Mary Landry had a rosy view of the cleanup effort which includes burning a portion of the spill. Landry did say however that the event was unprecedented.

Landry added that to call the leaking oil well seeping at a rate of forty-two thousand gallons a day a catastrophe would be jumping the gun.

She said the spill’s impacts are small compared to the Exxon Valdez oil spill. BP spokesperson Doug Suttles listed some of the mitigation strategies in addition to burning some of the spilled oil.

Other implements include capping the leaky well, drilling a relief well, and installing structures to catch the oil before it washes ashore. Speaking on behalf of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Charley Henry said that trajectory models based largely on wind and currents give them a pretty idea of where the slick is headed.

Some members of the press weren’t happy with what they were hearing. One reporter for a coastal Alabama newspaper asked why the most recent trajectory models weren’t being given to local governments.

Another reporter brought up recent sperm whale sightings near the spill area. Charley Henry of NOAA said impact on that species was likely minimal.

There are still many questions including one very big one that even Doug Suttles of BP was as of yet unable to answer.

In particular, the question about how igniting parts of the oil slick will be managed is something NOAA’s Charley Henry said has never been done.

The oil slick is expected to make landfall in the Louisiana marshlands Friday.

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