As discussions continue among residents about the environmental impact of carving up the M/V Golden Ray like a warm calzone and people wait to see how truly loud the process becomes, U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter and Georgia’s two senators say they feel good about the progress made so far and are confident about the process going forward.

Carter, whose district includes Coastal Georgia, has been particularly plugged-in to the salvage and cleanup.

“Although it’s not a federal contract per se...we have been in constant contact with (salvage operations) and continue to monitor the situation,” he said.

As to environmental protection, Carter said he feels Unified Command is doing the right thing.

“Obviously, and you can see it right now, they’ve got the booms that’s about to be deployed, and then they’ve got several safety boats that are standing by, and they’re there 24/7,” he said. “Thus far the environmental impact has been minimal. They have removed something like 327,000 gallons of fuel thus far and still have some (left) but not anything like they had before.

“Environmentally, they are doing a good job up to this point. They’ve been monitoring the shoreline, they haven’t found any shoreline oiling, and haven’t seen any wildlife impacts at all — at least the Coast Guard has not.”

Carter said to keep in mind the Coast Guard is responsible to make sure everything is done according to federal environmental regulations. Going forward, he said while there has been some environmental impact, it’s not been as bad as it could have been.

He said he posed the question about what happens to the ship’s innards, cars and all, in the sectioning and removal process.

“What was explained to me is that they use these ladders, if you will, or mesh, steel mesh, that keeps the cars in place until the next section can be cut out,” Carter said.

Georgia’s senators are also keeping an eye on progress.

“Sen. Perdue is receiving regular updates on the removal process from the Coast Guard, Navy, state government officials and local stakeholders,” a Perdue spokeswoman said. “Our goal is to remove the vessel as quickly and efficiently as possible while minimizing environmental impacts.”

U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler said in a statement that she’s confident the process will work out positively.

“Environmental and public safety concerns are at the top of the list for many residents, and I am glad its negative impact has been kept to a minimum,” Loeffler said. “I applaud the diligent salvage efforts and response by the Unified Command, and I am hopeful that this difficult operation will be completed as quickly as possible.”

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