18,000 gallon oil spill in Delta refuge
Oil is spilled in Delta Refuge
18,000 gallons of crude released
Wednesday, April 07, 2010
St. Bernard bureau
Crews worked Tuesday to contain the oil from a spill in the Delta National Wildlife Refuge, the Coast Guard said.
At approximately 1 a.m. Tuesday, Berry Brothers General Contractors notified the Coast Guard that oil was discharging into a canal located approximately 10 miles southeast of Venice. Chevron Pipeline Co., which operates the pipeline, reported that approximately 18,000 gallons of crude oil were released.
The Coast Guard Sector New Orleans, the Louisiana Oil Spill Coordinator’s Office Department of Public Safety and Corrections and Chevron responded to the spill to minimize damage to the refuge.
The Coast Guard evaluated the spill by air and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and the Coast Guard had pollution investigators in response boats on the scene assessing the oil’s effect and monitoring cleanup efforts.
Coast Guard Lt. Stephen Nutting said the Mississippi River has not been affected by the spill.
“Right now, we’re trying to contain it in the refuge,” he said.
Upon receiving the initial report of the spill, Chevron immediately closed the affected section of the pipeline and has initiated emergency response procedures, the Coast Guard said.
The pipeline is owned by Cypress Pipe Line Company, which is a joint venture between British Petroleum and Chevron Pipeline Co.
The Coast Guard is investigating the cause of the spill.
A crude oil spill covered about one-fifth of a remote national wildlife refuge near the mouth of the Mississippi River on Wednesday, and another 120 square miles in the Gulf of Mexico, the Coast Guard said.
No affected birds or animals had been reported, and more than 50 people and 16 vessels were working Wednesday to clean up the spill from a pipeline through the Delta National Wildlife Refuge, Lt. Stephen Nutting said.
Nutting said the slick covered 16 square miles of the refuge, which comprises about 76 square miles of marshland between the Mississippi River and Breton Sound and the Gulf of Mexico. A 12-mile-wide slick stretched 10 miles into the Gulf of Mexico, he said.
Crews put 5,000 feet of containment boom around the slick and were putting out another 2,000 feet of boom around the environmentally sensitive area near Breton Island, Nutting said. He said skimmer boats had sucked up 600 gallons of oil.
A Berry Brothers General Contractors barge dredging for ExxonMobil U.S. Production Co. in the area notified the Coast Guard Tuesday about 1 a.m. that oil was spilling into a canal about 10 miles southeast of Venice, according to a news release.
About 18,000 gallons of oil spilled before Cypress could close the broken section.
The news release was distributed jointly by the Coast Guard, the state of Louisiana and the pipeline operator, Cypress Pipe Line Co. — a joint venture between BP PLC and Chevron Pipe Line Co.
Nutting would not comment on the cause.
ExxonMobil has offered to help deal with the spill, company spokesman David Eglinton said in an e-mail.