Coast Guard Keeping Watch on Lake Pontchartrain

New Orleans, La. – Hurricane Alex steered 500 miles away from the leaking oil well but still managed to knock out containment efforts along the Gulf Coast. Now weaker winds and storm systems are pushing oil into sensitive wetlands where skimmers are getting back in service.

Rear Admiral Paul Zukunft says rough seas make it difficult to skim and contain oil away from marshes.

"Mother Nature has a vote in this as well. And unfortunately Mother Nature has voted against us as we're staging up this response."

He says it's possible that oil will head into estuaries north of the city of New Orleans.

"That is here I'm losing the most sleep right now - is if oil were to enter into that system and ultimately into Lake Pontchartrain."

Local officials set up barges to block oil if it heads toward the lake.
For NPR News, I'm Eileen Fleming in New Orleans.