criminal penalties when entering oil cleanup ‘safety zone’

Following manual cleanup at Fourchon Beach, La., on May 27, 2010, booms made out of plastic pom-poms are set to protect the sandy beach area. Captions and Photo source: NOAA


The Coast Guard has put new restrictions in place across the Gulf Coast that prevent the public, including news photographers and reporters covering the BP oil spill, from coming within 65 feet of any response vessels or booms on the water or on beaches.

According to a news release from the Unified Command, violation of the “safety zone” rules can result in a civil penalty of up to $40,000, and could be classified as a Class D felony. Because booms are often placed more than 40 feet on the outside of islands or marsh grasses, the 65-foot rule could make it difficult to photograph and document the impacts of oil on land and wildlife, media representatives said…

Read Full Article; By Kris Kirkham, Picayune Times.