NEWS

Thursday's Oil Spill Briefing: BP collecting, burning off oil

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

News of the day

1. BP reports that in the first 12 hours of Wednesday, about 330,000 gallons of oil was collected from the ruptured well, and 15.7 million cubic feet of natural gas was burnt off. On Tuesday, about 630,000 gallons of oil was collected, and 29.4 million cubic feet of natural gas was burnt off.

2. According to wire reports, BP said Thursday it wants to begin burning up to 420,000 gallons of oil a day as it increases its ability to contain and collect more oil spewing from the ruptured well. Testing on the burn plan is to begin this weekend.

3. More than 130 Mississippi fishing vessels have joined BP's Vessels of Opportunity program, according to the Sun Herald. The oyster and shrimp fleet boats have been hired on to help monitor the spread of slicks and spot oiled wildlife.

Number to know

71

The number of cases of oil spill-related illnesses reported to the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals as of Wednesday. Fifty of those involved workers on oil rigs or those involved in the oil spill clean-up efforts, while 21 illnesses were reported by the general public.

According to the department, most workers who reported exposure-related illnesses experienced symptoms such as throat irritation, cough, shortness of breath, eye irritation, nausea, chest pain and headaches. Eight workers were hospitalized. These hospitalizations averaged one day. Most of the illnesses reported by the general public have been related to odors from the oil spill.

Quote of note:

"Recent media reports have suggested that individuals involved in the cleanup operation have been prohibited from speaking to the media, and this is simply untrue."

-- BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles in a letter e-mailed to CNN by a company spokesman

GateHouse News Service