Coolidge inventor has idea to stop BP oil leak - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Coolidge inventor has idea to stop BP oil leak

By LeiLani Golden - bio | email

COOLIDGE, GA (WALB) –A Coolidge man says he has a solution to the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.

Inventor Billy Willeby guarantees his "Slim Jim" device would be 99% effective at stopping the gushing oil.

Getting BP to buy that guarantee isn't easy.

Coolidge inventor Billy Willeby is fed up with the Gulf Oil crisis.

"They're messing up my eating lifestyle," he says. "And as you can tell, I very well love to eat. They're messing up my seafood diet."

So he decided to do something about it. Ideas began flooding his head when he saw a woman open an umbrella at a Florida rest stop.

"Anything I can come up with and design in my head, I can take a torch and a welder to build it. Inventing something is just a standard procedure for me. It just ain't no big deal."

He says it didn't take long to come up with this design, dubbed the Slim Jim. The apparatus would be 84-feet long and weigh more than 2,000 pounds.

Willeby's invention would work a lot like an upside down umbrella. The device is put into the well then opens up flat to seal off the leak.

Willeby even says he has a manufacturer ready to build the device at a cost of 9.9 million dollars. Many people in the area, from friends to BP supporters, encourage Willeby's efforts.

"I think they should give it a try," says BP customer Benny Miller. "They can't stop it. Maybe he can?"

"BP needs to take this man seriously," says Willeby's good friend Billy Gibson. "He's not from New York, not some big architect, but you'd be surprised where your smartest and brightest people come from. They need help and I guarantee this is the man who can give it to them."

A BP representative finally contacted Willeby after he spoke to some government officials. Willeby says BP now ranks his idea in the top 250 of 30,000 submissions.

"It'll work. There is a 99.44% that it'll work. It's really a no-brainer to be honest about it. A failure is better than a no try. You gotta do something in order to make something happen," says Willeby.

He says the Slim Jim's slim chance of failing is a risk someone has to take to finally stop the BP oil gusher.

Willeby claims the Slim Jim would stop the leak within 24 to 72 hours of being put in place.

He says if B-P does buy it... He'll donate his profit to Shands Hospital, St. Jude Hospital, and the Humane Society of the United States.

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