Clean-up workers use "super-vacuums" and pom-poms to soak up oil on Louisiana beaches and coasts. Cornell University scientists find oil from the still-gushing leak in the Gulf of Mexico leak 20 miles into marshlands.
How to Clean Up Oil on Coast? Try Super-Vacs, Pom-Poms
KERRY SANDERS reporting:
Well, good evening, Brian. This is one of those barrier islands. The only way to get here is by boat. And tonight, well, this is it. This is what it's come to. They're calling this Cajun ingenuity. They're literally vacuuming up the oil. The Louisiana Army National Guard working with a private contractor instead. But if the oil were to stop gushing right now, it would take more than 60 years with these equipment here right now to get it all. Three super vacuums are now sucking up 100 gallons of oil an hour.
Governor BOBBY JINDAL: Look at that, man.
SANDERS: Fifty days ago this was one of those so-called crazy ideas phoned into BP. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal says if this is a war, then the dark crude coming ashore is the first wave of attack.
Gov. JINDAL: We have got to be winning this war by using technology like this, fighting oil as soon as we see it, at first sighting.
SANDERS: Are you winning even a battle right now?
Gov. JINDAL: Absolutely. And we're going to win this war. And are we there yet? No.
SANDERS: The governor here says they're now ready to try just about anything, including something as simple as a pompom. These are called snare booms. And as you see, when the oil hits it, it sticks right to these pompoms.
The hundred-plus miles of Louisiana's barrier islands are now the last perimeter, the final line, say coastal ecologists, before the oil soaks the marshes. But it may already be too late. Early this morning, a team of scientists from Cornell University discovered dark crude 20 miles into the marsh.
Mr. MARK DANTZKER (Cornell University): The oil is making it past the barrier islands, up into the marshland here. And you're still seeing fresh oil.
SANDERS: And there, this oil-coated pelican.
Mr. DANTZKER: It's one bird, and he'll--and he'll live if you get out here.
SANDERS: Then a white pelican, and then these laughing gulls eating in those oil-soaked waters.
Mr. BENJAMIN CLOCK (Cornell University): The macroinvertebrate life that they're feeding on, both the things like...(unintelligible)...crabs, insects, that those are going to be killed off.
SANDERS: In the last 24 hours, more than 300 oil birds have been rescued near Venice alone. And tomorrow, like today, state and federal wildlife officials are on the water from sun up to sundown looking for more. Kerry Sanders, NBC News, East Grand Terre Island.
For the first time in the 3.5-billion-year history of life on Earth, a single species, humans, has gained the capacity to effect major change in the entire biosphere.
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