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8 Mile Oil Spill in the Atchafalaya Basin Caues Concern for Wildlife

An oil spill in the Atchafalaya Basin has state and industry officials on alert. This particular spill could have severe impacts on the environment since the barge has been leaking oil since Monday, with oil now reaching 8 miles into the basin. The company responsible, Thyssen Petroleum Inc. began the clean up process on Friday.

“The company has provided resources to be able to recover the oil which includes containment,” said one Coast Guard representative.

Some hunters like Mark Patin are already planning to scrub down their boats.

“I would think it’s going to leave a film on the side but I mean aluminum boats are very simple to clean, otherwise if you have a fiberglass boat it may take a little work to get it off,” said Patin.

But hunters like Patin are even more worried about the wildlife in the area.

Patin adds, “…because if (the oil reaches) any further than 14 or 15 feet and you’re looking at affecting wildlife.”
“It could have very significant impacts in the basin,” said founder of Atchafalaya Basin keeper Dean Wilson.

Dean Wilson says small oil and chemical spills happen often through out the basin, but this spill is more concerning because of where the spill is located.

Dean said, “…of all the oil spills in the basin they’re very easy to contain because they have been in a swamp or place without a current, but my concern with this oil spill in particular is the fact there is a river with the current.”

Though the Coast Guard says the spill has been contained Dean is still worried that there still may be some oil lingering out there.

“I’d be very surprised if they could have contained all this oil that’s been going down occurring for so long,” said Dean.”

Dean also told News 15 he’s especially worried about the fish and other wild life in the basin, since other larger animals feed on them. They could contaminate land animas that migrate through the winter. At this time the spill has again been contained but not totally cleared. Crews will continue operations tomorrow morning.