In New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast, we take for granted easy access to fresh fish and seafood. We take for granted that we are home to many species that are reliant on the condition of our coastal waters and wetlands to survive. We take all of this for granted until they are threatened by something that is out of our control.
Over 6,000 square miles of fishing waters have been shut down due to the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Stop for a moment and consider that. Over six thousand square miles.
That number will more than likely grow over the coming days since it appears that BP has yet to figure out how to cap the leak that continues to spew oil into the Gulf at this moment.
Not only is this a tragedy for our environment, but 11 workers lost their lives during the initial rig explosion. Many of them were from right here on the West Bank and it makes my heart ache to see posts offering prayers to those who lost loved ones.
I've been watching the Facebook updates from people who live in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. I've read how willing people are to step up and offer help in any way they can, whether it's with the actual clean up or through donations. It's been difficult to separate the real information from the rumors, but this appears to be the most accurate list I can find.
- From the State of Louisiana
To report oil on land and for Community and Volunteer Information, call 1-866-448-5816.
To offer your vessel for service or submit alternative response technology, services or products, call 281-366-5511 or email HorizonSupport@OEGLLC.com
You can register through OilSpillVolunteers.com to volunteer or join a cleanup organization.
The BP Volunteer Hotline has set up numbers if you need to report injured wildlife or damage related to the spill. You can also request volunteer information at 866-448-5816.
The Oiled Wildlife Care Network is providing volunteer information, though help from private citizens is not being requested at this time.
- The Audubon Society is rounding up volunteers here.
- Can't join the clean up? Local t-shirt designer Fleurty Girl is selling the Rescue Me shirt, with all proceeds going to the Audubon Institute's oil spill rescue efforts of marine mammals and sea turtles. Printed with soy inks, no petroleum products were used in printing. You can order shirts here and use discount code RESCUE for free shipping.
The impact this will have on the Gulf Coast environment and economy has the potential to be devastating for many. Please take a moment and help in whatever way you can.
UPDATE 5/5/2010 - THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION WAS PROVIDED BY SENATOR DAVID VITTER
Our office has received a significant number of calls and e-mails from people all over the country wanting to help or get involved in cleanup efforts for the oil spill in the Gulf. Also, we are working to stay on top of BP as the situation is assessed and trying to ensure that BP complies with its responsibility to stay involved and assist as many affected Louisiana constituents as possible.
There are two program updates that fishermen and other affected parties need to be aware of.
1. Claims: BP has initiated a program to assist those affected parties who can claim lost wages or other income due to the spill. Full details of the program are not yet available, but BP has indicated that they want to get restitution into the hands of affected parties. At minimum, it is important that affected Louisiana families and individuals get a claim number by calling the hotline: 1-800-440-0858.
2. Vessel of Opportunity: We wanted to inform you that BP has established a new Vessel of Opportunity line for those wishing to offer their vessels for service. The prior e-mail contacts and hotline were overwhelmed by those wanting to help. The new number is 281-366-5511. The new e-mail address is HorizonSupport@OEGLLC.com. Vessel owners will need to provide details about their vessel, including the name, owner, horsepower, length, draft, etc.
Other Pertinent Information:
• To report oiled wildlife, please call 1-866-557-1401 and leave a message. Messages will be checked hourly.
• To discuss spill related damage, please call 1-800-440-0858
• To report oiled shoreline, please call 1-866-448-5816.
• To request volunteer information, please call 1-866-448-5816.
• To contribute an idea or offer resources to the cleanup efforts please submit all relevant information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
• To submit an alternative response technology, services or products please email email@example.com or call 281-366-5511.
• For members of the media needing more information regarding the Deepwater Horizon incident, contact the joint information center at 985-902-5231/5240.
If you're a Louisiana constituent affected by this spill and have concerns that BP is not committing enough resources or providing access to the claims program or the Vessel of Opportunity program, please call our hotline at 1-866-345-0931. If you do not receive an answer at that number, please call my Metairie office's direct line at 504-589-2753.