Earlier this week, we visited the Gulf Coast and filmed this video in Biloxi, Mississippi about the fast-approaching oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico. We met with Mike Murphy from The Nature Conservancy in Biloxi Bay to talk about local wildlife, and how environmental groups are working to protect valuable wetlands in the region.
When we shot the video, on May 12, the oil hadn't yet reached land, but the wind was ripping from the southeast, sending it towards the Louisiana barrier islands. Those southeasterly winds have continued, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration now projects that the oil is heading straight for the Mississippi coast.
We've also learned that oil is gushing at roughly 10 times the rate of initial estimates -- at about 70,000 barrels per day, according to an NPR report. In addition, there is news that the latest measure to stop the leak involves shooting "pieces of tires, golf balls, knotted rope" into the broken blowout preventer. (What, bubble gum and duct tape didn't work?)
We also spoke with local fisherman Steve Cason, who works on a shrimp boat tour for tourists, for a perspective on how the spill might affect fishermen in the region. Cason stressed that even though the oil hasn't touched land on the Mississippi coast yet, tourist numbers are already down (they've had to cancel one out of two tours everyday since the spill) and many boats that are normally out fishing during this season are docked.
For information about how you can help, go to The Nature Conservancy's donation / volunteer page or the Audubon Society's Action Center.
-Mark and Dorothée