Sheila McNulty Louisiana contemplates (and smells) approaching oil slick

EPA/FTFrom New Orleans: The oil already has brought a sickening odour here – a two hour drive from the Gulf. Louisiana’s governor, Bobby Jindal, declared a state of emergency on Thursday is seeking federal assistance for small businesses and the commercial and recreational fishing industries affected by the spill. He also has asked permission to call up the Louisiana National Guard to call up 6,000 help respond to the spill.

BP late on Thursday announced it was stepping up its efforts to address leak, including a significant expansion of onshore preparations. The leak is expected to reach Louisiana’s coastline within hours.  President Obama, meanwhile, declared the event “of national significance” in order to free up resources from around the country to stop the slick.

However Jindal, while avoiding criticising the efforts so far, said he had not yet received the level of detail he was seeking:

“We’ve had great communication, but what we’re looking for now are quantifiable assurances that there will be the adequate resources to not only protect the coast, but clean up afterward.”

AFP reports that two Louisiana shrimpers have filed a lawsuit claiming negligence and seeking millions of dollars in compensation from BP, Transcoean, and Transocean’s insurers.