"The striking part of this story are all the unanswered questions. We're not even sure how much of this substance is oil, or if what appears to be oil actually is. Almost one year after BP's disaster, oil incident response capability in the Gulf continues to be sorely lacking," said Aaron Viles, Deputy Director of Gulf Restoration Network.
Volunteers with Gulf Restoration Network, who flew with Dr. Bonny Schumaker of On Wings of Care, captured aerial photography and footage clearly showing there are more than 5 gallons of a foreign substance in the area in question. Footage captured south of Grand Isle on March 23, 2010 can be viewed here, and detailed location information is available at On Wings of Care's website here. For TV quality high-resolution footage that can be used with attribution to Gulf Restoration Network / On Wings of Care, contact Gulf Restoration Network.
"As the Gulf experiences yet another blow, the federal government is reopening deepwater drilling, but it's very clear that more must be done to increase the safety of drilling in the Gulf," continued Aaron Viles, "The Gulf of Mexico needs a Regional Citizens Advisory Council to formally involve local, impacted communities in oversight of oil and gas development and emergency response plans."
To confuse matters further, Nancy Rabalais, director of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium research station in Cocodrie, said scientists from the lab believe the slick is actually a huge, thick concentration of phytoplankton, the plant species of the microscopic critters at the bottom of the ocean food chain.
Who is in charge of confirming what is actually out there, and how long will it take?
"I am told that NOAA has made no overflights of the Gulf since October 2010. Is it possible that that events like this have been occurring since last summer, or perhaps even before, all over the oil-and-gas littered Gulf?" Dr. Schumaker continued.
"Almost one year ago, the BP disaster showed that tighter regulations and more local input are clearly needed to ensure inevitable oil incidents are responded to quickly and effectively," concluded Mr. Viles, "Unfortunately, it appears that lesson has not yet been learned."
Sample aerial footage from south of Grand Isle - http://healthygulf.org/201103241621/blog/bps-oil-drilling-disaster-in-the-gulf-of-mexico/video-footage-from-gulf-overflight
Location details for footage - http://onwingsofcare.org/protection-a-preservation/gulfofmexicooilspill2010/gulf-of-mexico-oil-spill-2011-spring/131-gulf-of-mexico-flight-2011-mar-oil-spill.html
SkyTruth satellite imagery - http://blog.skytruth.org/2011/03/gulf-spill-not-so-fast-problem-at-loop.html
Aerial photos of LOOP facility - http://www.flickr.com/photos/healthygulf/sets/72157626328994814/
Aerial photos of Breton Island - http://www.flickr.com/photos/healthygulf/sets/72157626340217676/show/
Location details for photos - http://onwingsofcare.org/protection-a-preservation/gulfofmexicooilspill2010/gulf-of-mexico-oil-spill-2011-spring/129-gulf-of-mexico-flight-2011-mar-oil-spill.html
Gulf Restoration Network is a 501c3 environmental advocacy organization founded in 1994 whose mission is to unite and empower people to protect and restore the natural resources of the Gulf of Mexico region. GRN has been very active in responding to the BP oil drilling disaster through watchdogging impacts and response while advocating for full restoration and protection of the Gulf. www.healthygulf.org
On Wings of Care is dedicated to promoting the welfare of domestic animals, wildlife and their habitats, and natural and human-dominated ecosystems by helping with searches, rescues, transports, rehabilitation, medical and veterinary treatment, and scientific research. They have flown over 300 hours over the Gulf since May 2010 conducting aerial reconnaissance and worked with many organizations in the Gulf region. www.onwingsofcare.org