Alabama braces for oil impact

Posted by Cody Holyoke - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - At the mercy of Mother Nature, crews throughout the Gulf Coast erect the best defense they can muster.

"Our lessons learned from Exxon Valdez is not to continue to take things from 'Day 1,' but to take it from the worst case scenario and work your way back," explained U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Mary Landry.

In Alabama, residents are hopeful.  Still, animals, marine life, and marsh areas are in danger as the slick moves toward the coast.

"This is the time of year you have a lot of species of fish that are spawning, so their eggs and larvae of those fish could die," said marine biologist Kevin Anson.

State workers don't want that to happen.  Agencies like the Alabama Department of Environmental Management are setting out miles of protective booms and creating staging areas.

Crews are doing what they can to prevent any incoming crude from getting too close to the coast.

"We're trying to be proactive and attack this thing while it's out there, while it's out in the Gulf, and before it gets to the shore," said ADEM's Mike Sherman.

Teams are working against the clock and the weather.  For now, the wind is in Alabama's favor, pushing the slick northwest, but all that could change.

"They're predicting winds coming out of the south that could push it northward up into Mobile Bay Sunday or Monday," Governor Bob Riley explained.

"So a lot of that is just going to depend on what the new storm font is going to do and how it affects the winds."

Water quality still isn't an issue.  ADEM teams have been taking samples every ten miles and still haven't found any detectible traces of oil as far as 50 miles off the coast.

About 76 response vessels are in the Gulf.  Many of them are either skimming the surface to collect oil or deploying a special chemical to break it down.

Stay with WSFA 12 News for the latest on this story.

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