Louisiana's Gulf Coast Braces For Oil's Arrival
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
NPR's Cheryl Corley is there. Hi, Cheryl.
CHERYL CORLEY: Hi, Steve.
INSKEEP: What's been happening in Venice today?
CORLEY: BP, the rig operator, says it's conducting, along with the Coast Guard and others, what could be called the largest oil spill containment operation in history. There have been efforts here, in Venice, Louisiana and elsewhere out in the water, to burn that oil. They've been dropping dispersants on it to breakup the slick, hopefully. But the spill is just much bigger than previously thought. And despite all those efforts to contain it, the slick has proved to just be a very determined adversary.
INSKEEP: Now, when you use the word contain, I think of those booms that they can put out on the water that sort of sweep up a lot of the oil. Do they have that kind of defense waiting - the last line of defense there along the coast at Venice?
CORLEY: So, you know, they have all of these devices that they're trying. But so far, like I said, not much luck.
INSKEEP: What have people in Venice been saying?
CORLEY: But there are others who really just don't blame the companies but they are preparing for the worst. And I talked to a commercial fisherman last night, as he was coming in. This is Donald Cheramie.
DONALD CHERAMIE: Katrina ain't nothing compared to what's fixing to happen with this oil. You know, recreational, the wildlife, the ducks, you know, everything is just going to be gone.
INSKEEP: Does not sound like people have a lot of hope that all those containment efforts are going to work.
CORLEY: Frank Fralish(ph) is the yacht captain who runs a sports fishing business in Venice. And he says that weather is the key. And right now a choppy sea and some very high waves have made it relatively difficult to fight the oil slick.
FRANK FRALISH: You know, right now in the Gulf, you've got six to eight foot seas. You know, and it's hard to contain anything in a six to eight foot sea. You know, a lot of people don't know what six to eight foot seas are, but I'm there all the time and I know. And it's really hard to contain and really hard to work. You know, and the weather is really hampering them pretty bad right now.
CORLEY: And, you know, there are lots of people paying attention to this. President Obama has sent three cabinet members to come check it out. Today, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and the Interior secretary will be in town, and the Environmental Protection Agency administrator. They'll all be flying over the spill area today to take a look at the efforts that have been made so far.
INSKEEP: NPR's Cheryl Corley reporting from Venice, Louisiana on the Gulf of Mexico. Cheryl, thanks very much.
CORLEY: You're quite welcome.
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