‘Preparing for the worst’

By DONNA MELTON – dmelton@sunherald.com

South Mississippi went on high alert Thursday as oil began to reach the mouth of the Mississippi River in Louisiana. Coast Guard officials are attempting to barricade the Mississippi Coast’s shoreline from an oil spill that could reach land sometime this weekend.

Forecasters from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast the spill will be 10 to 20 miles south of the barrier islands by 6 p.m. Saturday, but officials are leery of predicting exactly when, or if, the spill will reach Mississippi beaches.

For some, preparations for the oil’s arrival feel somewhat like waiting for a hurricane. The Navy is sending supplies, the director of Homeland Security is en route to the South and President Barack Obama weighed in with reassurance the government is doing everything in its power to prevent a greater environmental catastrophe.

Gov. Haley Barbour said Mississippi is “preparing for the worst.”

“The state’s effort is being led by the Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Marine Resources,” Barbour said. “They’re working closely with the private company, its contractors and the federal government — including the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard — to block oil residue from coming ashore and to clean up any that does.”

On the home front, booms — lightweight, vinyl-coated material that bobs above and below the water’s surface — were deployed in environmentally sensitive areas from the Bay of St. Louis to the Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge area at the Alabama state line.

Other areas, such as the Ocean Springs Harbor, were on standby and could receive the containment protection if necessary.
Read more: http://www.sunherald.com/2010/04/29/2142304/preparing-for-the-worst.html#ixzz0maJFp0Gx


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