Midlands company critical to coastal crisis - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Midlands company critical to coastal crisis

By Darragh Copley - email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Research Planning Incorporated located in the Vista of downtown Columbia responds to chemical and oil spills to assist federal and state agencies since 1978.

Just days after the April 20 oil rig explosion in the Gulf Coast, Dr. Jacqueline Michel spent the next 25 days in Louisiana to assist in the cleanup efforts. "We're the scientific SWAT team that responds to oil spills and chemical spills nationwide," said the South Carolina native.

"I was in charge of the assessment team to map the extended oil of the shoreline and make cleanup recommendations, as well as to provide things to not cause more harm," Michel.

Her expertise as a geochemist is critical to the coastal crisis. She worked closely with BP officials, the EPA, Coast Guard as well as federal and state agencies. Michel held daily briefings with Louisiana's governor.

Responding to 55 different oil spills, Michel remains positive on the latest oil spill. "this is going to be a project for at least a year.

Michel is also looking at how the oil slick may affect our coastline.

She said that if the oil does come ashore to South Carolina, it will be tar balls, hard, black and almost seashell looking.

Michel plans to go back to Louisiana on June 12.

Her company is not only responding to the Gulf Coast but has teams in Haiti near Port Au Prince restoring watersheds. In Saudi Arabia, restoring the coastal habitat that was damaged during the Gulf War oil spill in 1991.

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