Locals Skeptical of Latest BP Oil Spill Fix

By: CBS News
By: CBS News

(CBS) The day's headline seems like good news: BP's latest fix is working. On Grand Isle, people have had it with BP's history of false hope and failed fixes. They're skeptical and running out of patience, reports CBS News correspondent Mark Strassman.

"It's a crying shame," says Chris Hernandez. "It's terrible and the people need to see this."

He drives home a common gripe here. "This is the whole coast of Grand Isle. Seven and a half miles of beach."

Every day more oil hits this coastline, resentment deepens with the muck. Residents ask, where is the sense of urgency.

"Look at this island," says Hernandez. "There's nobody here. There's not a clean-up crew here."

Clean-up crews are here, up and down Grand Isle beach. Eleven-hundred people in all work on Grand Isle's cleanup, but only 250 of them are in "hazardous material" suits, shoveling oil off this seven-mile beach, the so-called "hot zone."

Clean-up coordinators say crews can only work 20 minutes of every hour. "Due the heat and humidity we have to give people a break," says U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Dan Somma. "It's the number one safety issue working in this environment."

In an even harsher environment - a mile undersea - BP says its latest fix is working. Its new containment cap over the broken wellhead is sucking more oil to a surface ship.

Two hundred fifty-thousand gallons on Friday. Four hundred forty-one thousand gallons - or 10,000 barrels - on Saturday. But many scientists believe much more oil's still bleeding into the gulf every day.

"We have a further containment system to implement in the course of the coming week, which will be in place by next weekend," said BP CEO Tony Hayward.

But all that's too late to stop the millions of gallons already in the Gulf. In places like grand isle - places in the bull's-eye of the blob - clean-up crews could work 24/7, but the damage is already done.

Chris Hernandez found another sad reminder of the oil's impact, a dying bird.

"It's heartbreaking, man," says Hernandez. "You know, what's this bird's survival rate? He's just a baby.

That bird was found on the main beach where clean-up crews work every day. Those crews have yet to set foot on some nearby barrier islands and that's where every day you'll find many more oiled pelicans and other wildlife.

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