Waiting for more boom in the Bay - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Waiting for more boom in the Bay


By Krystal Allan – bio | email

BAY ST. LOUIS (WLOX) - There's boom in the Bay. But, it isn't the heavy duty ocean boom that was supposed to arrive by early Saturday, according to officials in Hancock County.

For now, the only defense against the oil in the bay is 18-inch boom. Bay St. Louis Mayor Les Fillingame said the use of 18-inch boom across the Gulf states has shown it's not enough.

"If the systems that we need are not available or their not coming or it doesn't exist for whatever reason, they (BP) just need to be up front with us," Fillingame said.

To keep oil away from the Bay, the main ship channel at the CSX train bridge is the only place where containment boom is open for boaters to pass.

Ideally, Mayor Les Fillingame said they'd like boaters to avoid passing in and out of the sound this holiday weekend.

"We're asking everybody that launches in the Bay of St. Louis to stay in the Bay of St. Louis, in fact we would rather them stay north of Highway 90. If people request to get out...if they're just transferring their boat to some other location, they'll let them go through. But, just to go in and out on a regular basis...no," said Fillingame.

The mayor says BP needs to better coordinate the contracting process when it comes to boom. He said with so many hands involved in the process, there needs to be more accountability.

"If we can come out here and take issue with the fact that they (contractors) deployed 18 instead of 30 and 36 inch boom, then I would think BP would take the same issue with them if that's the case," says Fillingame.

Fillingame said if the materials are not available in the next day or so, he will push for local leaders to explore other options of getting what they need themselves.

However, amid the frustrations, the mayor received a bit of optimism infused into his day. He ran into the Williams family from Leesburg, Virginia.

The Williams are traveling cross country to California along the Gulf states. They decided to visit Bay St. Louis, some proof, despite the situation unfolding along the coast, that people have not turned their back on the Gulf Coast.

"Even with the oil, it's still just a beautiful scenic beach. Since I came here now, I can definitely see it's some place I'd want to come in the future," says Jeff Williams.

WLOX did contact BP spokesperson Richard Judy. Judy said he tried to contact those coordinating the boom process Saturday night. He said he was unable to get in touch with the right contacts but said BP will follow up Sunday and work with Hancock County officials to resolve the situation.

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