Environmental news from California and beyond

« Previous Post | Greenspace Home | Next Post »

Gulf oil spill: Rough weather complicates cleanup

May 2, 2010 |  1:34 pm
Laying booms
Contractors working to hold back the expanding oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico struggled with rough conditions Sunday as swells off Louisiana reached 7 to 10 feet and warm rain moved north into the state.

Officials held out hope that conditions would improve by Monday, but as of Sunday afternoon, northerly winds were still driving the slick toward the Lousiana coastline, said Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class David Mosley.

Although commercial fishing has been halted, no limits have been placed on commercial vessel traffic in the region, he said. But the Coast Guard is maintaining a safety zone of about a third of a mile around the slick.

Mosley said weather conditions may cause cleanup crews to adjust their deployment but would not keep them in port.

Meanwhile, BP continues efforts to shut off the ruptured oil well. The company has tested using a type of chemical to disperse the oil and minimize its effects with good results, he said. And the technique may be tried again.

But this is not an ultimate fix. Blocking the gusher remains an urgent priority, he said.

-- Jill Leovy

Photo: Out-of-work fishermen hired by BP PLC lay oil booms in the waters off Louisiana on May 2, 2010. Credit: Gerald Herbert / Associated Press