Divers Examine Trigger Of Oil Spill Off The Coast Of Louisiana : NPR

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On board Marine One, President Biden inspects Hurricane Ida damage on September 3, 2021 while flying through communities in Laffite, Grand Isle, Port Fourchon and Lafourche Parish, Louisiana. Port Fourchon is a major oil and gas hub in the Gulf region. JONATHAN ERNST / POOL / AFP via Getty Images Hide caption

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JONATHAN ERNST / POOL / AFP via Getty Images

On board Marine One, President Biden inspects Hurricane Ida damage on September 3, 2021 while flying through communities in Laffite, Grand Isle, Port Fourchon and Lafourche Parish, Louisiana. Port Fourchon is a major oil and gas hub in the Gulf region.

JONATHAN ERNST / POOL / AFP via Getty Images

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, divers worked Sunday to locate the source of an oil spill about three kilometers off the coast of Louisiana in the Bay Marchand region of the Gulf of Mexico.

Coast Guard spokesman Lt. John Edwards said Houston-based Talos Energy, an oil and gas company with operations in the Gulf, has hired Clean Gulf Associates to help fight oil spills in the polluted area in Bay Marchand.

Talos has also hired the diving team that will determine the source of the spill, Edwards said. Meanwhile, Edwards said, Clean Gulf Associates is operating skimmers – devices that help absorb spilled oil from the water – in the area to mitigate further environmental impacts.

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The Coast Guard says they have several teams working to determine the level of pollution. Once the source of the leak is identified by divers, the Coast Guard will work on a recovery and source control plan, Edwards said.

As divers continue to obtain information about the leak, the source remains unclear. The Associated Press reported that while Talos hired Clean Gulf Associates and divers to find the source of the leak, the company said it didn’t think they were responsible. The Coast Guard also said they did not know where the oil could be coming from.

“Talos took the initiative to respond to the pollution report and hired an oil spill control organization.

Talos and Clean Gulf Associates did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Aerial photos show a mile-long black slick in the water near an oil rig in the Gulf of Ida

Experts say the spill is far enough away for now to prevent major damage

The news of the Bay Marchand oil spill comes after the Associated Press last week reported satellite imagery to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) showing several other potential oil spills in the Gulf.

Environmental experts say the spill is far enough from the coast that damage to local habitats is not immediately feared. However, it is absolutely crucial to contain the damage so that it does not reach aquatic organisms and sediments on the shore.

“At the moment it is moving along the coastal area. It has not yet started moving nearshore and contaminating the coastal area, and that’s critical to getting so much done before it gets all the way to the coastal area, “Wilma Subra, a technical advisor with the Louisiana Environmental Action Network, said NPR.

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Due to the intensity of the hurricanes hitting the Gulf region, especially one as powerful as Hurricane Ida, oil and gas companies will typically evacuate some employees who work on offshore drilling rigs. But that may mean the response time to finding and cleaning up oil spills may be slower, Subra said.

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“There aren’t a lot of people out there who can stay in the water and see, so you have to take satellite images … that’s the only way you can watch these spills in the early stages and see them as soon as possible,” Subra said.

Oil spills getting closer to the coast would also affect the livelihoods of the people who work in the fishing industry, which ranks billions in the Gulf region. Damage to fish, crabs, shrimp and other marine life could potentially affect thousands of jobs.

“It will have a tremendous negative impact on the environment as well as the survivability of communities,” said Subra.