Delta National Wildlife Refuge oil spill cleanup operations continue

VENICE, La. — Cleanup operations continued to make steady progress over the weekend as additional workers, boats and equipment were deployed to the scene of an oil spill in the Delta National Wildlife Refuge. The U. S. Coast Guard, Chevron and the State of Louisiana continued to work together to cleanup an area of approximately 16 square miles that is currently impacted by the spill.

Over the weekend, advisories were issued to boaters to avoid the impacted area as containment booms may present a safety hazard for marine vessels. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) took the precautionary step of closing the affected portion of the refuge area south of Main Pass to the public to ensure their safety as well as response personnel conducting cleanup operations.

More than 200 people and 50 vessels have been deployed to conduct and manage cleanup operations and environmental protection efforts, which include oil recovery as well as efforts to keep wildlife out of the impacted area. Nearly 30,000 feet of containment boom has been deployed in and around sensitive habitat areas. Bird deterrent devices designed to scare birds away from the affected areas have also been deployed.

Observed impact to wildlife has been minimal. Individuals who observe injured or oiled wildlife should not attempt to rescue them. Doing so can be dangerous, and may cause injury to both the would-be rescuer and the wildlife. If impacted wildlife is observed, note the type of wildlife, location, and time of observation and promptly report it by calling the following number: 1-877-424-5495.

Trained wildlife experts will then be dispatched to recover and care for the injured wildlife.

The incident was first reported at approximately 1 a.m. on April 6th by Berry Brothers General Contractors while conducting dredging operations in the area of the pipeline. They notified the Coast Guard that oil was discharging into the canal where they were located approximately 10 miles southeast of Venice, La.

The pipeline operator reported that approximately 18,000 gallons of crude oil was released. Remote pipeline monitoring operations began closing off the affected section of the pipeline when abnormal conditions were detected. Emergency response actions and procedures were immediately initiated to minimize the environmental impact of the spill.

The Coast Guard continues to investigate the cause of the spill.

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