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Video Exclusive: Gulf Coast Braces for Oil

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

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Reader Comments (29)

This is so disgraceful. I cannot believe in this day and age this kind of thing keeps happening to our oceans, wetlands, animals, fish, and human beings who make their living from the sea. GOD help us.

May 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAKJFaltot

Maybe this is it, maybe this will help people decide who to vote for and who to vote out -- maybe now we'll get clean energy...

May 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEddy anne

At times like this I am thankful that I had the wherewithal over three decades ago to sell our car and vowed never to drive since I had read ages ago about the dangers of fossil fuels to this fragile earth of ours. We walk, ride bike, take taxis and occasionally use a rental car. We live in the lovely inner city of Back Bay, Boston in a multi-unit dwelling and our condo uses natural gas heat, which I hope is less polluting. We recycle and will do even more to help protect the environment so that wildlife will be able to enjoy a safe and pristine environment. If all of us make sacrifices, the world will be a much better place for all living creatures. This latest spill is heinous. I read that the Scandinavians have flawless off shore oil drilling operations due to their investing a fortune in safeguards. Our oil industry will hopefully link up with them and learn how to prevent this type of debacle.

May 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKaren V. Stefanini

This photo showed one boom. It seems we could try doubling and tripling the booms set out. Volunteers could be taught to make booms, help with their production. Perhaps enough oil could be kept off shore to protect the very fragile wetlands and pristine white sand beaches..and birdlife.

Another boom production idea: Human hair stuffed inside panty hose and many layered together to make booms? I've heard that human hair absorbs oil. A plea could go out to all beauty parlors to collect the hair that is cut daily and send to collecting stations for booms to be made and sent to the Gulf.

Surely there is a solution to this horrible problem. We need to think creatively now and when this is over to change laws to insure it never happens again!!

May 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSara Roseman

Has anybody seen this?? Seems to me like it answers a lot of the problems with waves and the booms, plus it would keep this sludge from destroying the beaches and would not be adding chemicals to the water, destroying even more life...
Check this out: http://www.wimp.com/solutionoil/

Don't keep this a secret! Some of the best ideas do not come from the "people in charge" !!

May 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWindsor Easley

A week or so ago I learned that human and animal hair is an attractant for oil. I suggested to the Conservancy that a national campaign be organized for all concerned citizens about this disaster to shave their heads, stuff it into stockings and create "booms" that could be lined up on various shores and used to remove the oil as it approached the coast line. I got no answer. A friend emailed me this morning telling me that people have in fact sent hair from salons and animal hair and that this hair is now sitting in warehouses gathering dust. I think this is pathetic. What is wrong with the bureaucrats in charge of cleaning up this catastrophic oil spill? At least get the hair that has been sent in into women's stockings and start using it.
Damaris Rowland

May 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDamaris Rowland

I am discusted with this whole oil spill thing. I'm from the north and can relate to the problem the fisherman have coming from a family who loves to fish and eat fish. Our hearts go out to the fisherman. Hopefully this will be an eye opener for the u.s. and maybe we will all spare this earth and live here before it shakes us off.

May 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEdward Holden

We need to preserve our wildlife so we can eat it!!!!!! That is the circle of life.

May 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEdward Holden

It's about time Nature Conservancy, National Wildlife, Greenpeace , National Wildlife and everybody else in the conservation community join together and GET ANGRY! We can't rely on the mainstream corporate media to even talk about it anymore! It's disgusting. Obama Administration has proven to be only Bush Lite, a painful disappointment to me. He is not a friend of the environment and his promises were only that! Anyone who's not sure should look into Ken Salazar's policies and look into the wolf slaughter and aerial hunts in Alaska and elsewhere.
The biggest environmental disaster we've ever experienced has unfolded in the past month and still, hand wringing. Where is the outrage? I am sickened by what will happen to our birds, fish, marine mammals and our beaches and the people who live there and depend on a sound clean environment. The short sighted ignorant Drill Baby Drill people should be first in line to clean up!

May 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie in San Diego

Queridos Amigos, todos estamos unidos cuando se producen desastres como este pero realmente debemos estar unidos siempre, para poder evitar que estas trajedias se produscan, yo especificamente e aprendido a compartir con la naturaleza desde siempre esa fue mi escuela, y ala fecha quiero muchisimo a los animales porque he llegado a comprenderlos, y les podria asegurar que son mas inteligentes que muchisimo, es mas que el 99.9% de los umanos, venimos a este grandisimo planeta, a que? a acabarlo?, queridos lectores los invito a hacer y tomar accion, no solo de palabra.

May 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJuan Echeverria

Oil on water can be absorbed with hay or bermuda grass. I wonder if this has been tried. The oil will cling to the floating grass which can then be scooped up. It may be a way to protedt the marsh and the beaches.

May 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMurray Kidd

Now is the time to push for mass transit. This will need to happen at every level of government, the writing is on the wall and now the sea. We can only turn in this direction and the realization should not be so difficult or require such travesty to come to the forefront of our environmental efforts.

May 23, 2010 | Unregistered CommentercHAMBERS

Drill, baby, drill! Interesting how we haven't heard that chant in awhile. The damage from this fiasco is growing at an alarming rate and there's no end in sight. BP and the US Government should be reaching out to all the brilliant minds out there for a solution to capping the well. It seems obvious that BP is guessing at a solution and their attempts could make the problem even worse. Plus they should stop spraying the toxic brew to dispurse the oil immediately. It's creating more damage, not less. After we kill everything in the oceans and wetlands, what next? My heart breaks for the younger generation and those to come who will undoubtedly have to live with the effects of this catastrophe as well as the world's recklessness in preserving our natural environment. Shame on all of us!!!

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