Coast Pipelines Face Damage as Gulf Oil Eats Marshes?
Spill could hasten marsh erosion, leaving infrastructure vulnerable.
If oil kills off marsh plants, wetlands will turn to open water, putting the shallowly buried coastal pipelines at risk of ships strikes, storms, and corrosive salt water. Each rip means more leaking oil, costly repairs and replacements, and in some cases, new wetland-restoration projects.
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Even without the added threat of the Gulf of Mexico spill, Louisiana has the highest rate of human-induced coastal erosion in the country, according to the Texas-based Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies.
"Certainly, if we are on a regular day losing marsh at an alarming rate, and our [energy] vulnerability increases everyday," the oil spill is "further complicating a crisis situation,"