Frustration Oozes in Darkening Gulf

With no fix in sight, residents target BP, feds
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 22, 2010 9:03 AM CDT
Frustration Oozes in Darkening Gulf
People stand on a beach in Grand Isle, La., Friday, May 21, 2010. Authorities closed the island's beaches along the Gulf of Mexico today after oil from last month's Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion started drifting ashore.    (Patrick Semansky)

Anger is oozing along the Gulf Coast along with the oil washing into delicate coastal wetlands, with residents questioning the federal government and others wondering how to clean up the monthlong mess that worsens each day. "It's difficult to clean up when you haven't stopped the source," says a New Orleans councilman. "You can scrape it off the beach but it's coming right back."

"The government should have stepped in and not just taken BP's word," says one resident. But law prevents the feds from just taking over: In the wake of Exxon Valdez, Congress dictated that oil companies be responsible for dealing with major accidents—including paying for all cleanup—with federal oversight. Frustrated local and state officials were also waiting for the Army Corps of Engineers to issue permits so they can build sand berms in front of islands and wetlands to act as buffers. (Read more Gulf oil spill stories.)

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