Greenpeace researcher Jesse Coleman shows oil churned up by Hurricane Isaac that has polluted the marshes of Barataria Bay, Louisiana, one of the areas hardest hit by the BP oil disaster, September 6, 2012
Oil from the 2010 BP disaster is polluting marshes and beaches in Louisiana, churned up by Hurricane Isaac more than two years after that spill devastated this area and other parts of the Gulf Coast. After documenting oil this week on a National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama and islands off the coast of Mississippi, Greenpeace and the Gulf Restoration Network investigated the marshes of southern Louisiana, and took samples of oil among the grass, water and soil. According to the New York Times, oil sampled from these Louisiana marshes this week by state wildlife officials has been fingerprinted as oil from the BP disaster.
Oil churned up by Hurricane Isaac pollutes the marshes of Barataria Bay, Louisiana, one of the areas hardest hit by the BP oil disaster, September 6, 2012
A dead crab lies in oil churned up by Hurricane Isaac in the marshes of Barataria Bay, Louisiana, September 6, 2012
Some of the oil we found in the Louisiana marshes is weathered tar balls, but much of it is viscous oil that is more toxic and difficult or impossible to remove. Despite BP’s advertising campaigns, there is a huge quantity of oil left in the marine environment from the disaster, as Garrett Graves, who oversees the ongoing BP cleanup for the state of Louisiana told CBS News, “BP has up to 1 million barrels of unaccounted oil in the Gulf of Mexico, and I think it will continue to manifest like this hurricane after hurricane for 10 to 20 years unless BP goes out and does a proactive cleanup effort.”
Oiled boom sits in the marshes of Barataria Bay, Louisiana after Hurricane Isaac churned up oil left in the Gulf of Mexico from the 2010 BP disaster, September 6, 2012
The flooded out coal terminal is a complete environmental disaster. The flood waters at this facility are inundated with coal and the sand barriers that the company built in a futile attempt to contain those waters failed, drastically. To make matters worse, the company is pumping the coal mixed water out of the facility directly into the surrounding landscape, river, and wetlands. For miles in each direction away from the terminal, there is a thick dark coating of coal on everything, including the community of Ironton. Cows can be seen drinking coal runoff. Birds can be seen searching for food in coal filled ditches. Active pumps can be seen displacing the flood waters from the grounds of the facility and into the surrounding environment.
Flood water at the Kinder Morgan coal export terminal in Louisiana is pumped into the environment outside the facility, September 5, 2012
Flood waters from Hurricane Issac are visible on the grounds of the Kinder Morgan coal export terminal in Louisiana, September 5, 2012
Kinder Morgan has a long history of pollution, lawbreaking, and cover-ups, and this is yet another reminder of the inevitable impacts to communities of coal export terminals, as Kinder Morgan and other companies seek to build new coal export facilities in the Gulf Coast, and open up new routes to foreign markets through the Pacific Northwest.
Flood waters from Hurricane Issac sit among mountains of coal at the Kinder Morgan coal export terminal in Louisiana, September 5, 2012
Oil washed up by Hurricane Isaac on West Ship Island, Mississippi, September 4, 2012
Oil is washing up along the Gulf Coast in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, churned up by Hurricane Isaac. After discovering hundreds of tar balls at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge in Alabama, a Greenpeace research team joined our allies at the Gulf Restoration Network to investigate the impacts on East and West Ship Island, off the coast of Mississippi. We found tar balls on East Ship Island and several heavily oiled areas on West Ship Island, which are both part of the Gulf National Seashore.
Oil and reeds washed up by Hurricane Isaac on West Ship Island, Mississippi, September 4, 2012
Meanwhile, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that Louisiana is “closing a 12-mile section of Gulf coastline from Caminada Pass to Pass Fourchon after Hurricane Isaac washed up large areas of oil and tar balls at the location of one of the worst inundations of BP oil during the Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010… agency crews surveying damage from Isaac discovered large sections of viscous oil and tar balls floating along the coast.”
Greenpeace researcher Jesse Coleman takes samples of oil washed up by Hurricane Isaac on West Ship Island, Mississippi, September 4, 2012
Greenpeace documented oil on East Ship Island in October 2010, months after the BP oil disaster. Returning two years later to find so much oil pollution is a sad reminder that it’s impossible to clean up a major marine oil spill. Officials are concerned that up to one million barrels of oil are estimated to remain in the Gulf of Mexico, and are calling on EPA and NOAA to explain how they will address oil pollution remaining from the 2010 spill.
Oil washed up by Hurricane Isaac contaminates water on West Ship Island, Mississippi, September 4, 2012
It’s clear that the impacts will be felt for years on the Gulf Coast, and the risk of such a disaster exists wherever our coasts are open to offshore oil drilling.
Oil is washing up along the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Isaac, confirming concerns that the storm could churn up oil in the Gulf of Mexico. A Greenpeace research team took samples from beaches along the Alabama coast on September 2, including from an area with hundreds of tar balls in the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge.
Hundreds of tar balls on the beach at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, Alabama on September 2, 2012
“This is another disaster on top of the hurricane that we’re going to have to deal with,” Garret Graves, chairman of Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, told The Huffington Post. “The threat is not insignificant.” Continue reading →