Wildlife officers prepare to net an oiled pelican in Barataria Bay, La.
The Rev. Kirby Verret is working all sides of the Gulf Coast oil spill disaster that threatens both his small Louisiana church and his community.
He is trying to tend to his 178-member Native American United Methodist congregation at Clanton Chapel in Dulac, offering support to families and people who fish for a living.
And he is negotiating with British Petroleum, which wants access to the large, centralized sewer system – built after Hurricane Juan in 1985 – on the church’s property and space to house cleanup teams on church grounds.
June 8 marked the 50th day since a BP-owned Deepwater Horizon oil rig ruptured in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers and setting the stage for what is feared will be the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.
The spewing oil has yet to be contained. During a White House press briefing a day earlier, Admiral Thad Allen noted that the nature of the spill has changed. “We’re no longer dealing with a large, monolithic spill; we’re dealing with an aggregation of hundreds or thousands of patches of oil that are going a lot of different directions,” he said.
In Dulac, Clanton Chapel is affected by the oil spill. “Our church is mostly fishermen,” Verret explained. “Most are unemployed. Some have gotten work with BP.”
An oiled pelican is washed at the Clean Gulf Associates Mobile Wildlife Rehabilitation Station in Plaquemines Parish, La.
2:00 P.M. EST June 9, 2010