Pipeline Ruptures in Louisiana Spilling 90,000 Gallons of Oil

The Clovelly-Alliance-Meraux Pipeline ruptured causing approximately 90,000 gallons of oil to enter a southeast Louisiana coastal area known as Little Lake Saturday which is located approximately five miles northeast of Clovelly, Louisiana. The owner of the pipeline, BP, shut down the pipeline as soon as it became aware of the spill and notified Garner Environmental, which dispatched five boats to begin containment and cleanup, said company spokesman Neil Chapman. It was not immediately clear what caused the rupture or to what extent the spill may have damaged marine or coastal wildlife. "We're trying to keep the oil away from the critters and if some do get in trouble we have specialists who are trained to rehabilitate them," said BP spokesman Daren Beaudo, who was on the scene. BP sent a plane to do an aerial assessment of the damage.

Little Lake is mostly surrounded by marshland, but connects to the Barataria Bay and the Gulf of Mexico at Louisiana's far southeastern coast, about 35 miles south of New Orleans. Cleanup crews had 40,000 feet of containment boom in the water, but some oil had made land and started up a canal. "There will be some shoreline impact and we're trying to prevent any more," Beaudo said. "The wind out here has been kind of tricky." He said the cleanup could take several days.

Chapman said company engineers had yet to determine what caused the rupture in the line that runs from the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port to the Alliance Refinery near New Orleans. Coast Guard spokesman Jeff Murphy described the slick as a large ribbon being pushed by the wind toward the shoreline, where cleanup crews were able to corral most of it. "It's staying in one area of the lake," he said. BP "had a fast response with a lot of resources." By early Sunday afternoon, the Coast Guard said about 6,720 gallons had been recovered.