Tuesday, December 21, 2010

OIL SPILL - Human Interest Side

"After Oil Spill Crisis, a Protector Keeps Watch" by DAN BARRY, New York Times 12/20/2010


A daughter of Plaquemines Parish, her camouflage outfit the color of the forest, checks the oil. She checks the steering, the coolant, the gas. She makes sure that everything is tied down or stored away, so that nothing loose will fly into the fanlike propeller at the rear of her airboat. “Maintenance,” she says. “Maintenance.”

Then off she roars, a singular woman named Albertine Marie Kimble, guiding her airboat across the grass and into the precious marsh waters, where she is most at home. An honor guard of green-winged teal ducks rises to greet her, the only resident of this southeastern Louisiana spot called Carlisle.

“Wow!” she shouts. “Whee-e-e-e!”

The BP oil spill of 2010 has come and gone, mostly. The cleanup armies have been reduced to platoons, the oil company’s public-relations blitz has lost its apologetic urgency, and you have to know where to look to find any remnants of the catastrophe. But Albertine Kimble, protector of these waters, is still here; she has neither forgotten nor forgiven.

She is not an oil rigger, or an oysterman, or a shrimper. She is the coastal program manager for Plaquemines Parish, tending to its wounded banks. She is also the parish itself, rooted generations-deep in its soft soil, an outdoorswoman living in a remote mobile home raised nine feet off the ground by creosote poles and galvanized girders.

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