|Wildlife and Fishery Agents Check out Oil off Elmer’s Island|
The mayor of Grand Isle, LA, held a press conference Sunday afternoon to say that reports of oil in the Gulf of Mexico, which started circulated on Friday, are heartbreakingly correct. Oil was spotted by fishermen, residents and members of OnWingsOfCare.org, a non profit organization who flew over what they described as a slick 100 miles long by 12 miles wide on Friday.
On Sunday morning, the Coast Guard still hadn’t confirmed there was oil in the Gulf so I took a ride down to Grand Isle to see for myself. Finding the oil was easy. It took ten minuets by boat headed to the cut in Caminada Bay where Grande Isle and Elmer’s Island almost come together. Oil was rolling in with the tide. I spoke to Wildlife and Fishery agents who had no doubt it was oil. It smelled like oil, looked like oil and felt like oil. Coast Guard were on the Elmer’s Island beach, which is still closed to the public. A clean up crew seemed to be inspecting the situation, rather than cleaning. Later on Sunday the Coast Guard acknowledged that oil is washing up on Elmer’s island, Grand Isle and Port Fouchon, but discounted reports of oil further up the coast; it is silt from the Mississippi River, according to the Coast Guard.
Where the oil is coming from is unclear at this point. If more is on the way and just how much was leaked, no one seems to know. Coast Guard Commander John Burton suggested the source could be oil that was released for 4-6 hours on Saturday while a drilling site was being plugged, but the investigation is ongoing. After conducting tests, the Coast Guard said the Gulf waters are within acceptable pollution limits. But the fact is more oil in the Gulf is washing up on the coast less than a year after the BP oil spill. That didn’t stop some beach goers from swimming and fishermen from fishing. “Call it Island Apathy,” a long time resident said.