MOBILE, Alabama – More than 90 percent of the hard boom initially deployed as part of the federal-led response but now potentially posing more risk than it offers protection for vital shorelines in Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle has now been recovered. Because virtually no visible oil has been spotted on the surface of the Gulf in these areas recently, and in order to protect shorelines from any potential damage caused by boom in severe weather, the Incident Command Post at Mobile (ICP Mobile) announced that more than 1.5 million feet of hard boom has been recovered from those state waters.
Responders remain vigilant and ready to deploy boom should it be needed to protect the coast from any new threats from oil that may emerge in the coming days and weeks.
“Removal of hard boom is the right operational decision,” said U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Steven Poulin, Incident Commander at ICP Mobile. “We remain fully committed to this response and stand prepared to redeploy boom should that be necessary as well as remove any oily material from the shoreline as quickly as possible in our continued effort to protect the GulfCoast and its natural beauty.”
ICP Mobile has worked with federal, state and local officials to evaluate plans for boom removal. During extreme weather the boom could become a navigational or safety hazard, or could damage environmentally sensitive lands. After the boom is removed, it is inspected, cleaned, repaired (as necessary) and stored at sites along the Gulf Coast for immediate redeployment should the need arise. Boom that cannot be redeployed is recycled or reused to the fullest extent practical.
Quotes from Local Officials:
“I am pleased to see the oil spill is moving into the recovery stage,” said Fairhope, Ala., Mayor Timothy M. Kant. “Hard boom deployment was very difficult but the removal process was very efficient and the Coast Guard should be commended on the removal and recycling of the boom.”
“The removal of the boom is another step toward normalcy for our community and our region,” said Orange Beach, Ala., Mayor Tony Kennon. “We welcome it and we look forward now to moving into the economic recovery and enhancement phase of this discussion.”
“I believe removal of boom from our shores and estuaries has resulted in several benefits to the town,” said Perdido Beach, Ala., Mayor Patsy Parker. “With diminished surface oil, removal of boom has allowed a greater degree of tide controlled flushing of the estuaries resulting in cleaner surface water. Other benefits are: greater freedom of movement of boat traffic and visual evidence that we’re moving from response to recovery.”
"Removing the boom shows the public a sign of better days to come," said Gautier, Miss., Mayor Tommy Fortenberry. “Along with the well being capped, this brings peace to a stressful situation and demonstrates the progress."
"I am glad to hear of this milestone," said Long Beach, Miss., Mayor Billy Skellie. "It has been a relief to know the boom was available to protect our harbor, and it is also good to know it would be available should we need it again in the future. Let's hope we do not need it again."
“Now that the well has been capped, the flow of oil has ceased, and all oil on the top water retrieved, we commend the Unified Area Command on the efficient recovery of over 1 million feet of hard boom material,” said Gulfport, Miss., Mayor George Schloegel. “This has been a herculean effort. This removal will avoid inconvenience and even danger to area boaters. The recovered boom material can be held in reserve in the event it is needed elsewhere or if surface oil reappears in the Gulf.”
“I am pleased that we are in a place where we can remove the boom,” said Destin, Fla., Mayor Sarah “Sam” Seevers. “It is a positive sign for our community that better days are ahead. We are also being responsible by keeping a portion of it readily deployable in the event we are threatened by more product.”
"We agree that the removal of the boom is the right decision at the height of hurricane season with no oil forecast,” said Escambia County Commissioner Marie Young, District 3. “We are also pleased that it is staged locally to redeploy if necessary along with skimmers remaining at NAS Pensacola."
“The removal of the boom is an excellent indication that we are moving into the long term recovery stage of this fight, but we must remain vigilant in assessing water quality,” said Escambia County Commissioner Gene Valentino, District 2.
“God has smiled on us thus far and we have been lucky to have a limited landfall of oil,” said Panama City, Fla., Mayor Scott Clemons. “I am happy that we are in a position to remove most of the boom. I know the administration is doing everything it can to protect us in the event there is a hurricane or storm.”
“Removing the boom currently in the water is sign of hope, however, I am pleased to see that the county is keeping some on standby in the event we need it again,” said Santa Rosa Island Authority Director Buck Lee.
At the height of the Deepwater Horizon Response, nearly four million feet of boom, response-wide, was deployed, while more than 1.6 million feet of hard boom was deployed in the ICP Mobile area of responsibility. Operations to remove boom from along the shoreline of the Florida panhandle are nearing completion. Boom removal from the waters of Alabama and Mississippi continues.
Boom was placed at critical points to protect wildlife refuges, estuaries, beaches, marshes and other environmentally sensitive lands from oil contamination. Placement of boom along the coast was just one of the many actions taken by the response team to prevent oil from reaching the shore.
The response team continues active surveillance of the waters and shoreline in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Operations will quickly deploy teams to safely, effectively and efficiently remove tarballs or oiled debris that may impact the shoreline.
If there are questions, please contact the Incident Command Post at Mobile, Alabama
Joint Information Center at (251) 445-8965.
For further information about the response effort visit www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com or www.restorethegulf.gov.