Oil Burn On Gulf Coast Starting Today

Gulf Coast relief workers plan to begin Wednesday a controlled burn of certain parts of the massive and still-growing oil spill on open water, according to the Deepwater Horizon Response Joint Information Center.

Though the strategy is designed "to protect shoreline and wildlife," the response unit claims its controlled-burn operations will not affect populated areas, marine mammals or sea turtles. The Environmental Protection Agency will be on hand to ensure that air quality remains within acceptable safety levels.

Barring unforeseen weather problems, this will mark the first controlled burn since April 28, when a 28-minute burn removed what was estimated to be thousands of gallons of oil.

The full statement from the response unit appears below:

ROBERT, La. - Favorable weather conditions have allowed responders to prepare to conduct a controlled burn today, May 5th.

As part of a coordinated response that combines tactics deployed above water, below water, offshore, and close to coastal areas, controlled burns remove oil from the open water in an effort to protect shoreline and wildlife.

No populated areas are expected to be affected by the controlled burn operations and there are no anticipated impacts to marine mammals and sea turtles. In order to ensure safety, the Environmental Protection Agency will continuously monitor air quality and burning will be halted if safety standards cannot be maintained.

A successful controlled burn, lasting 28 minutes and removing thousands of gallons of oil, was conducted on April 28th.