[StBernard] St. Bernard Parish issues oil spill update

Westley Annis Westley at da-parish.com
Thu Apr 29 23:10:44 EDT 2010

St. Bernard Parish issues oil spill update

Oil spill expected to affect St. Bernard marshes by the weekend

In an 8:30 p.m. press conference, St. Bernard Parish President Craig P.
Taffaro, and Parish Council members Wayne Landry, Mike Ginart and Fred
Everhardt assured citizens that they are working in close cooperation with
federal and state authorities and British Petroleum to address the massive
oil spill to protect Louisiana coastlines, marshlands, and commercial
fishing grounds.

Gov. Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency and the federal government
sent in skimmers and booms Thursday as oil from a massive spill in the Gulf
of Mexico moved toward the coastline. St. Bernard Parish President Craig
Taffaro declared a state of emergency in St. Bernard Parish earlier in the
day as well.

BP was operating the Deepwater Horizon, which was drilling in 5,000 feet of
water about 40 miles offshore when it exploded last week. Eleven crew
members are missing and presumed dead, and the government says 5,000 barrels
of oil a day are spewing from the blown-out well underneath it.

British Petroleum is the responsible party and as such is the directing
agency for the clean up and response in conjunction with all federal
response agencies. Currently, the spill is affecting 18,000 square miles of
surface area.

The current projected path of oil spill movement indicates it will be in St.
Bernard marshes within the next 48 hours. President Taffaro said he is
currently working with the Coast Guard and BP to get assurances they will
put assets in St. Bernard to protect its marsh. President Taffaro,
Councilman Landry, and Col. David Dysart, the Acting Chief Administrative
Officer and director of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness,
participated in flyovers of the area to observe the sheen.

What we saw was that there was no activity to protect St. Bernard,"
President Taffaro said. "We need to prompt BP to put in place the assets to
protect our marsh, our fishing industry and our way of life in St. Bernard..
They have assets deployed from here to Florida but none in St. Bernard

At an earlier meeting in the day, parish officials met with fishermen to
hear strategies on how to best address the spill as it approaches. Fishermen
offered more than 260 boats to help address the spill.

That contact information has been sent to BP officials so the fishermen can
be compensated for their efforts as part of its Vessel of Opportunity
program. .

However, at some point, the parish may have to conduct its own secondary
volunteer effort without putting anyone not trained in hazmat incidents in
harm's way.

Currently, the parish has the fishermen willing to help but there are no
assets, such as booms, skimmers and mops available for St. Bernard to take
action independently. That is why officials are hoping that BP will use the
fishermen who have volunteered to help.

Local commercial fisherman who can assist in any local efforts to protect
our coastline in St. Bernard can sign up with St. Bernard Parish Government
at the website www.sbpg.net at the Contact Us button on top of the web site.

Please include the following information: Vessel name, Owner/Captain name,
Contact Number or Email if available, Length of Vessel, Horse Power and

If you have difficulty sending through the website, you may send the
information to kbazile at sbpg.net.

Please monitor the news for additional information. Updates also will be
posted on the parish website at www.sbpg.net <http://www.sbpg.net/> .


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