Cleaning up the Louisiana coast could take a year after BP manages to stop oil gushing out of a broken well, 5,000 feet under the Gulf of Mexico.
It is an effort that Jacqueline Michel and her Columbia environmental consulting firm are helping to organize.
Oil from a BP oil-drilling platform in the Gulf, torn apart by an explosion, is within 85 miles of Louisiana’s coastline. But a slick the size of a small state still could drift toward the Bayou State’s environmentally sensitive marshes and islands.
Michel, a USC graduate with a doctorate in geology, returned to her office in the Vista over the weekend after spending 25 days in Louisiana. Michel said she worked 16-hour days as she and her team surveyed damage and developed action plans to hand to contract crews the following morning.