Experts fear oil slick may spread outside Gulf of Mexico - - Jackson, MS

Experts fear oil slick may spread outside Gulf of Mexico

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GULF OF MEXICO (WLBT) - The latest effort to cap the leaking oil rig in the Gulf is on its way to the spill site Wednesday night.  Meanwhile, there is concern the slick may reach areas outside the Gulf.

Crews hope to use a giant, 125-ton metal and concrete box to cover one of the leaks in the deepwater horizon well.

But looking to lower expectations of those anxious for a fix, BP executives and federal officials said the box may not work.

"We are all hoping this containment system will work, but I want to remind everybody, this containment system is the first of its kind," warned Rear Admiral Mary Landry of the U.S. Coast Guard.

BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles agreed.  "This hasn't been done before.  It's very complex, and it will likely have challenges along the way."

The other major challenge is keeping the slick away from the coast.

An oily film has already invaded parts of the wetlands that edge South Louisiana.

Wednesday, concerned Louisiana parish leaders deployed jack-barges that will provide moveable barricades to try and contain the most dangerous areas of the slick.

"The jack-up barges allow them 24/7 to employ that secondary line of defense," said Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal.

For the first time scientists warn the slick could threaten areas west of the Mississippi River.  They said the slick is so expansive it may also drift into the loop currents which could pull the spill through the Florida Keys.

If that happens, forecasters said oil could be in the Keys and then along the East Coast in just two weeks.

Meanwhile, Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood and his fellow Attorneys General in Gulf Coast states are seeking clarification from BP on its plans concerning the recent oil spill.

In a letter sent to BP officials Wednesday, the Attorneys General jointly asked BP to explain its commitment to pay "necessary and appropriate cleanup costs" and to outline how it will go about that.

The group is also asking Transocean, Halliburton and Cameron International to take the same stand as BP on paying claims.

"Although I am cautiously optimistic that the damage may not be as bad as some predictions, as Attorney General my job is to prepare for the worst," said Attorney General Hood. "We have already taken still photos, video, fish counts, bird counts, grass counts, and water samples. This way we can document  before and after. We hope local businesses and families will preserve their costs and document their income losses."

In addition to the letters, Attorney General Jim Hood is hosting a meeting between the BP United States General Council and the other Gulf Coast State Attorneys General Thursday. 

"I want to make sure that I have a clear understanding with BP about how we are paid for all costs incurred by the State, local municipalities and governments and our citizens," said Attorney General Hood. "I have already contacted the affected state agencies, municipalities and counties and requested that they advise us of any questions they may have, so we can get them some answers."


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