PORT FOURCHON, La. (AP) — Photos show what appears to be a miles-long oil slick near an offshore rig in the Gulf of Mexico after Hurricane Ida, according to aerial survey imagery released Wednesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and reviewed by The Associated Press.
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The government imagery and additional photos taken by AP from a helicopter Tuesday also show Louisiana port facilities, oil refineries and shipyards in the storm’s path where the telltale rainbow sheen typical of oil and fuel spills is visible in the water of bays and bayous.
Both state and federal regulators said Wednesday they had been unable to reach the stricken area, citing challenging conditions in the disaster zone.
Hundreds of thousands of Louisianans have been sweltering in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida with no electricity, no tap water, precious little gasoline and no clear idea of when things might improve.
Long lines that wrapped around the block formed at the few gas stations that had fuel and generator power to pump it. People cleared rotting food out of refrigerators. Neighbors shared generators and borrowed buckets of swimming pool water to bathe or to flush toilets.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us and no one is under the illusion that this is going to be a short process,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said as the cleanup and rebuilding began across the soggy region in the oppressive late-summer heat.
More than 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi — including all of New Orleans — were left without power when Ida slammed the electric grid on Sunday with its 150 mph winds, toppling a major transmission tower and knocking out thousands of miles of lines and hundreds of substations.
An estimated 25,000-plus utility workers labored to restore electricity, but officials said it could take weeks.