MDEQ director: Perception still a problem with oil spill

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality Director Trudy Fisher is pleased with the overall response and clean-up of the oil spill along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. She spoke with WLOX about the one year anniversary of the BP spill.

The MDEQ has been at the forefront in the ongoing response efforts, which included taking water samples in the Mississippi Sound and monitoring the clean-up operations on the mainland beaches and barrier islands.

"On the clean-up and response, we're pleased with where we are on the response.  BP has been a good partner, and  I've used that word before, with the state, the Coast Guard and others, making sure the oil is picked up as it needs to be," said Fisher.

She said the biggest challenge at this point is something that may be difficult to tackle. It involves what the public believes about the gulf oil spill and its impact.

"The biggest challenge at this point is perception. May and June of last year, we were dealing with the perception that we were knee deep in oil on our beaches. And we never were. Our beaches were always open," said the MDEQ director, "But we're still dealing with the perception issue for tourism and then also from our seafood safety."

Director Fisher is also heavily involved with the ongoing Natural Resource Damage Assessment. That process is needed to document environmental damages to the Mississippi gulf coast and will help determine what BP owes the state in compensation.

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