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Sunday, July 27, 2008

t r u t h o u t | Major Fuel Spill Endangers Mississippi River

If you like oil spills like this one, just wait till we open up the outer continental shelf for more oil rigs and the next hurricane hits.  the last one, Katrina, spilled over 9 million gallons of oil, but the oil industry will keep getting richer with their new leases even though drilling won't bring the price of gas down one cent ever.   

Long stretch of Mississippi closed for attempted oil cleanup.

    A 100-mile stretch of the Mississippi River remains closed indefinitely to ship traffic this morning, as salvage workers drafted plans to remove a split fuel barge from beneath the Crescent City Connection in New Orleans and a half-dozen emergency spill contractors continued efforts to corral hundreds of thousands of gallons of thick, smelly fuel oil as it floated toward the Gulf of Mexico.

    Meanwhile, residents of Algiers remained skeptical of the assurances given by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Sewerage & Water Board officials that their water is safe to drink, with many choosing to drink bottled water instead.

    "We don't want to give a date right now" for reopening the river, said Coast Guard Capt. Lincoln Stroh, who controls shipping on the river as captain for the Port of New Orleans. "We're still talking in terms of days."

    The reopening requires both removal of the barge from its precarious position at the edge of the shipping channel and the cleanup of a significant portion of the 419,000 gallons of No. 6 fuel oil that was spilled during the early Wednesday collision between the 590-foot Liberian-flagged tanker Tintomara and the barge being pulled by the tugboat Mel Oliver.

Coast Guard Chief Petty Office Mike O'Berry said that even when the barge is removed, reopening the river to shipping will require the removal of a significant amount of oil from the water so it no longer threatens water supply intakes and wildlife.

    At midday Thursday, officials estimated that only 140 barrels of the 9,000 barrels in the barge had been picked up.

    U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service scientists have already spotted several oiled birds and animals, and a wildlife rescue operation is being set up in Venice to remove the material from feathers and fur.

    Port of New Orleans officials estimate the closure is costing the port $100,000 a day, which does not include the losses incurred by the companies using the docks or stevedores and other workers.

    Stroh said at least one cruise ship scheduled to arrive in New Orleans this evening will have to switch to another port. He said he hopes the river is open by the time the next cruise ship is scheduled to arrive late next week.

t r u t h o u t | Major Fuel Spill Endangers Mississippi River

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