UPDATE 1-Heavy oil ‘blanket’ hits Louisiana wetlands

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VENICE, La., May 19 (BestGrowthStock) – A blanket of heavy oil has
washed ashore in Louisiana’s fragile marshlands, in the first
significant heavy oil landfall from the Gulf of Mexico spill,
state Governor Bobby Jindal said on Wednesday.

“The day that we have all been fearing is upon us today,”
Jindal said after a boat tour to the southernmost point of the
Mississippi river estuary.

“This wasn’t tar balls. This wasn’t sheen. This is heavy
oil in our wetlands,” he told a news conference in Venice,
Louisiana. “It’s already here but we know more is coming.”

Previously, officials had been reporting “oil debris” in
the form of tar balls, or light surface “sheen” coming ashore
in outlying parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Jindal said Louisiana’s wetlands were “the Gulf’s nursery,”
nurturing diverse wildlife and protecting the coastline against
erosion.

He appealed to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to issue a
permit to allow the construction of 80 miles (128 km) of sand
levees to protect the Louisiana coastline from further damage.

That project, which would cost $350 million, has been
delayed despite an intense effort by the state and Plaquemines
Parish (county) officials to comply with the Corps’
requirements, added Jindal.

He said crews were ready to start building the network of
sand levees as soon as permission was granted.

Plaquemines Parish president Billy Nungesser said the sight
of the oil and the delay in granting permission for the levees
project affected him physically.

“Everything that that blanket of oil has covered will die.
There is no way to clean it. … I am sick to my stomach right
now,” he said.
(Reporting by Matt Bigg; Editing by Pascal Fletcher and Todd
Eastham)

UPDATE 1-Heavy oil ‘blanket’ hits Louisiana wetlands