Coastal Louisiana Parishes were the hardest hit when Hurricane Laura made landfall back in August, but some of the damage it created may impact the local environment for decades to come.
Aerial Photos obtained by News15 from Desmogblog and Healthy Gulf show what appears to be oil slicks in the coastal wetlands along with damaged industrial facilities.
If of course, this is oil it could have damaging impacts on the environment.
“Those different chemicals can be a big problem. So they can be a problem for plants which are then the basis of the food chain. So as soon as the plants have a problem you know, all of the insects, all of the birds, all of the fish, all of the things we associate with Louisiana; oysters, shrimp, crawfish, these things are poisoned.”
There are some challenges in identifying what is exactly in the water though.
While some of the sheen seen on the water could be oil or other chemicals there are also biological processes that could make identifying possible pollution difficult.
“There appears to be a lot of oil in the wetlands, a lot of sheen. Some of that is biogenic but, that is another problem that we face is that it could be really hard to detect when there is a spill and when there is what I would call normal.”
Between Cameron, Vermillion, and Iberia Parishes there are about 913 active or orphaned oil wells. With site numbers this high, if there are any leaks or spills they could go undetected for weeks if not indefinitely.
We reached out to the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality as well as Vermillion Parish officials to find out if there were any active spills or leaks. According to both, there were either no leaks or no major leaks ongoing despite what the photos show.
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