Booms to be removed from waters

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - By Al Showers – bio | email

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Hancock County leaders learned Tuesday, BP will soon begin taking boom out of South Mississippi waters. The news came at the daily briefing at the Emergency Operations office.

BP's rep in Hancock County told local leaders, with the oil leak capped and the permanent kill to the Deepwater Horizon well about to start, surface oil will become less of a threat. Boom is only affective against oil floating on the surface of the water, but some Hancock County leaders say their sensitive marshes will still need protection.

"Right now, I don't feel like BP needs to be in any type of scale back mode because there are still millions of gallons of oil out there," Hancock County District 4 Supervisor Steve Seymour said.

Seymour wasn't the only one unhappy to hear of BP's plan to remove thousands of feet of boom from Coast waterways by September first.

People here see boom as the front line of protection for the marshes in Hancock County.

Seymour said, "The boom might be for surface oil, but we need some type of preventive measure to stop the tar balls from coming into our marshes."

Hancock County BP Operations Manager Melvin Castillo said, "It's not that we're going to start moving boom out tomorrow."

BP's point man in Hancock County tried to explain that there's little oil floating on the surface, that booms can contain.

"If conditions continue as they are today, how we pick up that boom and the priority in how we pick it up will be set by the EOC and the local officials," Castillo said.

But these local officials believe that's the wrong decision.

"All of the fly overs aren't showing anything on the top," Bay St. Louis Ward 5 Councilman Joey Boudin said. "I think it's settling on the bottom some where just where is it...5,000 feet or is it eight feet?"

Hancock County EMA Director Brian Adam said, "There is something underwater because we're getting tar balls every day."

No one can say where the oil is right now or how much more is coming this way, so Hancock County leaders don't want to leave their shoreline unprotected.

"I want to make sure that their commitment they made 90, a 100 days ago, is still the same commitment that we have today," Seymour said.

Hancock County leaders did leave the meeting with some satisfaction. The crews will start night-time beach clean-up efforts Tuesday night at low tide.

Leaders said during the day, high tides concealed the tar balls making it impossible to find and remove them.

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