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BAD WEATHER HAMPERS OIL SPILL EFFORTS

POTENTIAL CATASTROPHE AS 200,000 GALLONS OF CRUDE SPEWS INTO THE SEA EACH DAY.

May 2, 2010. High winds and rough seas have hampered efforts to prevent a giant oil slick from reaching US shores and wreaking enormous environmental and economic damage on the fragile Louisiana coast.

The Gulf of Mexico is a prime spawning ground for fish, shrimp and crabs, and a home to oyster beds and a major stop for migratory birds.

Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal warned that the millions of gallons of crude being driven into shore by inopportune south-easterly winds formed a potential catastrophe. "This oil spill threatens not only our wetlands and our fisheries, but also our way of life," he said.

Environmentalists said it could take decades for the maze of marshes - more than 40% of America's ecologically fragile wetlands - to recover if waves simply wash the oil over miles of boom set up to protect the coast. "The surface area is huge," said Mark Floegel, a researcher with Greenpeace. "There probably isn't enough boom in the world to protect what needs to be protected."

Engineers are racing against time to shut off the flow of oil from a ruptured well some 50 miles (80 kilometres) off the coast but are getting nowhere fast as more than 200,000 gallons (around 750,000 litres) of crude spews into the sea each day.

"The surface area is huge," said Mark Floegel, a researcher with Greenpeace. "There probably isn't enough boom in the world to protect what needs to be protected."

Miami University researcher Hans Gruber said satellite images of the slick showed it was three time bigger than estimated, covering an area of 3,500 square miles (9,000 square kilometres).

At the current estimated rate of leakage, it would take less than eight weeks for the spill to surpass the 11 million gallons of oil that poured from the grounded Exxon Valdez tanker in Alaska in 1989.

There has also been political fallout as the White House put new domestic offshore oil drilling on hold until the disaster has been fully investigated.

FULL STORY>

http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/world/7143920/bad-weather-slows-down-oil-spill-fix/ 
 

 

 

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