TODAY   |  May 01, 2010

Bad weather stalls oil spill cleanup

Eleven days after an oil rig exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico, rough seas continue to hamper efforts to cleanup as much as 1 million gallons of oil that is threatening wildlife and commercial fishing. Lester Holt and Anne Thompson report from Venice, Louisiana.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> mainland where we are. we want to bring in now my colleague nbc's anne thompson , she has been here for the last week covering all this and has more on the impact. ann , good morning.

>> good morning, lester. you spoke about the winds and they're not only pushing the oil onshore but they're creating problems at the leak site. i was touring around the area yesterday on a boat and we saw those skimmer boats they've been using out at the site to take the oil. they had to be pulled back into the river because it's just too windy out there, creating a really unnecessary double whammy .

>> reporter: as sunrise broke over the louisiana delta, it was already clear by the strong winds and high tide there was a storm on the horizon.

>> total catastrophe, a hurricane hitting us a little bit at a time.

>> reporter: a massive oil slick came ashore, and not long after the first oil slick bird, a northern, covered in light swede crude from the bp spill. bobbie jindal who declared a state of emergency urged both the oil company and federal government to do more.

>> i'm certainly worried that the boons deployed are not affected, the areas will be impacted first are critical and fragile coastal sites.

>> reporter: ken salazar led no doubt bp would be held responsible for the cleanup.

>> british petroleum has a massive spill pofor which they are responsible. the oil threatens communities, wild life and natural resources around the gulf of mexico .

>> reporter: communities like venice where two of louisiana 's big industries, oil and fishing, interse intersect. matt o'brien, a former oil man, now buys himself seafood. he is building a new dock and wonders if there will be any fish on it. what is the spill doing to your dream?

>> i can't put it into words. i feel helpless, really.

>> reporter: he lost his business once before to hurricane katrina . the thought of losing it twice, is unbearable.

>> i got no kids left. a lifetime living down here with one disaster after the next.

>> reporter: now it's the future that is uncertain. you know, lester, people down here mark time by hurricanes. katrina, gustav. but now they're having to mark time this time by a spill that could have an impact just as long as any hurricane.

>> driving out here, i was reminded of all the destruction we've seen a few years ago and to think now they have to go through this again. do you smell the oil in the air?

>> i haven't smelled it onshore yet, but i was out at the leak site earlier this week and when you get out there, it is just so acrid. you spell it all the time. when i got back downshore i