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Video: Oil closes Louisiana beach

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    WILLIAMS: Good evening.

    BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Crude oil from that busted and spewing well has now made landfall in at least 10 separate locations across three states and the Gulf of Mexico . And the beautiful wetlands of southern Louisiana won't be the same for a long time to come. By conservative estimates, six million gallons of crude has entered those waters now. Animals are turning up covered in oil. Many have already died. The latest attempt to stop it will have to wait till next week. In the meantime, this gets worse every minute, and jobs and lives in that region are on hold indefinitely. In a moment we'll talk to a local official who long ago ran out of patience. We'll begin here tonight, however, with our chief environmental affairs correspondent, Anne Thompson , in Venice , Louisiana . Anne , good evening.

    ANNE THOMPSON reporting: Good evening, Brian . As ships gather out at the leak site to prepare for next week's attempt to plug the well, the Coast Guard says the good weather is actually helping skimming operations. But here on the coast, as more oil washes ashore, it is wearing away the little patience people have left. Where there should be tourists on blankets, there is a nasty coat of oil, closing the beaches on what locals call the Cajun Riviera .

    Ms. DOTY VEGAS: Hi , can I help you?

    THOMPSON: And in Doty Vegas 's reservation book, many cancellations for vacation cabins in Grand Isle .

    Ms. VEGAS: All these are all cancellations because of the oil. So it just goes on and on.

    THOMPSON: Today disturbing evidence of an even bigger problem ahead, a dead northern gannet covered in oil on the beach. Tired of waiting for federal government approval to build new barrier islands, Louisiana 's frustrated governor announced he'd take matters into his own hands.

    Governor BOBBY JINDAL (Republican, Louisiana): We've already got a contracted dredge out there. We're going to go ahead and start.

    THOMPSON: In Drake's Bay it's a race against oil on Mitch Jurasich 's oyster boat. Does it just seem inevitable?

    Mr. MITCH JURASICH: Oh, it's inevitable. It's coming. It's there. It's right offshore right now as we speak.

    THOMPSON: A potentially deadly threat to the 12,000 acres Mitch farms, and the three-generation tradition he wants to pass on to his son Nathan , a noisy, dirty job that Mitch is furious at BP for endangering.

    Mr. JURASICH: I'm angry with the lies, you know, the lies we hear. I mean, 2,000 barrels a day. Now it's 5,000 barrels, and now it could be 20,000 barrels a day. Why don't you just tell us the truth ?

    THOMPSON: A federal task force is trying to determine the leak rate, but BP says it is working from the 5,000 barrel estimate for next week's attempt to stop the oil. Called top kill, the company will shoot heavy drilling mud through the blowout preventer and into the well to cap it.

    Mr. ED OVERTON (Louisiana State University): I think it's got a very reasonable chance of success. Of course, when you're doing things at 5,000 feet using a remotely operated vehicle, it's easier to say than to do.

    THOMPSON: Now, as for that chemical dispersant BP is using to break up the

    oil, BP says it istold the government it cannot find anything less toxic in the quantities it needs, but it continues to search for

    alternatives. Brian: Anne Thompson starting us off from Venice , Louisiana . Anne , thanks.

    WILLIAMS: Billy Nungesser 's plat -- president of Plaquemines Parish , the part of southern Louisiana that stretches

    BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor:


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