BP on Lake Mars Landing response: It wasn't perfect; we'll do more - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

BP on Lake Mars Landing response: It wasn't perfect; we'll do more


By Meggan Gray – bio | email

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A day after oil was reported at Lake Mars Landing in Jackson County, it's hard to spot the crude.

A large patch of reddish brown, peanut butter-like goo, splattered between two rocks Monday is the most visible evidence it was ever here.

"It's disappointing that the oil got in," Jackson County District 5 Supervisor John McKay said. "I wish we could have done more. I wish BP could have done more. I wish the system could have done more."

McKay said he's fed up with the slow response.

"The whole red tape procedure has got to be changed so we can react to this a lot faster. "

Jason Merriweather, Deputy Incident Commander for the U.S. Coast Guard in Mississippi said more could have happened, a lot faster.

"Have we done enough? Probably not as soon as we should have. However, we're working to resolve that," Merriweather said.

The Incident Commander for BP in Mississippi agrees the last 70 days have been very frustrating.

"We've accomplished a lot.  And you know we've had some issues. We've made some mistakes. There's always more you can do."

In the meantime, BP will continue to clean up the mess at Lake Mars Landing.  Crews have lined the shore with snares, essentially absorbent booms that resemble pom-poms. They are also blasting the sticky mess off of the boat launch. 

"Luckily, this was just a wake-up call," McKay said. "There wasn't a whole lot of oil here. They got most of it cleaned up yesterday, but there's more to come."

BP and Coast Guard officials admit this won't be the last time we'll see oil on our beaches. But their mission is to minimize the impact as best as possible.

"There's going to be some rainbow sheen that's going to come in, but we're trying to get the things that produce the rainbow sheen," Merriweather said.

"What we do as a company is we put the big resources where the big threats are," explained BP's Johnson. "And so far that fortunately, for us, hasn't been in the state of Mississippi. Um, but the winds have changed, and we're going to move with them."

She concluded by saying, "I'm sorry that we have to be here under these circumstances.  And um we're going to be here until the end to make it right."

Merriweather also told WLOX, one thing they are working to improve, is communication. As it stands, all oil sightings have to be approved through the Unified Command Center in Mobile before crews are dispatched, and that takes time.   Merriweather said it works, but it's not perfect.

He also said communication between the boats working in the Vessels of opportunity program is also improving.

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