Coast Guard finds little wildlife damage

April 10, 2002 at 5:38 PM
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NEW ORLEANS, April 10 (UPI) -- The Coast Guard reported Wednesday that last weekend's 75,000-gallon oil spill in marshland south of New Orleans has caused little damage to birds and other wildlife in the area.

Only one rail, a small shorebird, was lost to oil contamination and more than half of the spill from a pipeline leak has been recovered, according to Lt. Richard Singley. About 41,076 gallons has evaporated or been recovered since the Saturday accident.

About 24,400 feet of absorbent boom is deployed around the spill which is now concentrated on the southern shore of Bay L'ours, about 35 miles south of New Orleans.

Nature will play a major role in the passive cleanup operation, Singley said.

"We don't want to get into the marsh and cause any more damage," he said. "We will allow Mother Nature to kind of move it out into the absorbant."

Scare cannons have been deployed to discourage birds from flying into the oil.

A 3-inch hole was discovered in the pipeline that began leaking at New Lake early Saturday, the Coast Guard said. The flow was halted from a remote control station. Temporary repairs have been completed and more permanent repairs are under way.

The cause of the leak is under investigation, the Coast Guard said.

BP Pipelines owns 70 percent of the line that serves two refineries in southeast Louisiana. Murphy Oil owns the remaining 30 percent.

A year ago about 550,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from a tanker on the Mississippi River near Port Surphur, La. It was the largest spill in U.S. waters since the Exxon Valdez's 10-million-gallon spill in March 1989 in Alaska.

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