Like we mentioned in our previous blog post, it was very unlikely that Gov. Haley Barbour had any good news to share in his press conference updating the latest with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
And while it’s not the worst news possible, it’s sobering: A yard-wide, two-mile long patch of residue that broke off the main oil slick reached the southern shore of Petit Bois Island early this morning. Petit Bois is the easternmost of Mississippi’s Barrier Islands.
The residue, which has been in the Gulf so long it’s lost most of the properties that at one time made it oil, is not considered toxic. It will take about 24 hours to clean it up.
But it’s still a major cause for concern.
“This is the first significant amount of oil residue, but certainly won’t be the last,” Barbour said.
In response to the find, Barbour said readiness efforts south of the Barrier Islands will be intensified, including adding more ships to the fleet that is searching for sub-surface oil and oil residue. To date, most of the reconnaissance efforts have been done by airplanes.
Barbour did say there is no evidence that any oil or any kind of residue has made its way between the passes in the Barrier Islands, which is good news because that would mean it would have a clean shot at Mississippi beaches.
“There’s no reason to panic yet, but there is a likelihood that more intrusion is coming to the Barrier Islands,” Barbour said. “If that happens enough, some will make it through the passes in the islands.”
Barbour said it’s way too early to tell what effect the spill will have on the Coast, because it’s uncertain whether BP’s latest attempt to plug it will be successful.
He then spent a good chunk of time complaining about some of the coverage the spill has gotten from the national media, which Barbour said made it sound like “the Mississippi Coast is ankle deep in oil. If tourists were there today, they wouldn’t know anything was happening. We are ready to fight this fight. But we are certainly concerned about what could happen.”