Gulf Oil Spill Damages Continuing
At National Resource Damage Assessment meetings along the Gulf Coast, residents and business owners are voicing their concerns over the continued devastation of the environment from the BP oil spill, reported Courthouse News on March 30, 2011.
The National Resource Damage Assessment (NDRA) held public scoping meetings all month to gather concerns and ideas for restoration. The concerns raised include medical problems arising from toxic beaches, air quality testing, and the side effects of Corexit, an oil dispersant:
At a scoping meeting last week in Biloxi, Miss., Vietnamese shrimpers said they have pulled up nets full of oil from the seafloor and have had to decide whether to report the oil to the Coast Guard, which would mean dumping their day’s catch, or pretend they don’t see the oil.
John Lliff, a supervisor with NOAA’s Damage Assessment Remediation and Restoration Program, said no one knows how much of the seafloor is covered in oil. Simply lowering a camera to the Gulf floor can take as long as 4 hours. The oil may have sunk in part because of dispersants. Other factors such as sediment might also have caused it to sink, Lliff said.
Shrimpers in Biloxi also said that in places where shrimp have been plentiful, there are no shrimp now.
Fishermen in Pensacola and Panama City, Fla. brought a day’s catch to a scoping meeting to show that several fish had lesions. The fishermen were concerned the lesions were a result of the oil spill.
“Lesions do occur in fish,” Lliff said. “Typically, they are a low occurrence, but fishermen there are saying they are coming up every catch.”