NOAA, EPA say government working to mitigate oil damage

Representatives of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency told a crowd of about 100 this morning that hundreds of government employees are working to monitor and mitigate damage from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

They also acknowledged the environmental impact will affect the Coast for years to come.

The Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium is sponsoring the forum at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum Convention Center.

The forum features breakout sessions on fisheries and wildlife, monitoring and data, business and personal finance, mental health in technological disasters and legal perspectives.

A regional representative of the EPA, Stan Meiburg, said the EPA has found no harmful environmental impact from the unprecedented use of dispersants to break up oil at the source of the underwater leak.

The EPA is concerned about the unprecedented amount of dispersant sprayed on the Gulf's surface 750,000 gallons as of Tuesday.

In all, Meiburg said, about a million gallons of dispersant has been used. Surface dispersant is now being allowed only with government permission and in very limited amounts.

The breakout sessions will include questions from those in attendance.

Read more about the forum in Thursday's Sun Herald.