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The State of the Gulf’s Beaches: BP Oil Spill Weekly Pollution Summary, 2/16/14-2/22/14

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Contrary to BP’s assertions that the Gulf is making a strong recovery and that any lasting effects from the company’s Deepwater Horizon Blowout are minimal, I offer this weekly summary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (FDEP) daily beach monitoring surveys.

Typical Beach Survey Coverage

Example of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s typical beach survey coverage on any given day. The FDEP usually covers less than 1,000 yards when collecting the BP oil residue pictured below.

Since the end of BP’s active cleanup efforts in June 2013, government agencies (not BP) have documented and removed over 34,316 Surface Residue Balls (SRBs), better known as tar balls, and more than 501 pounds of Deepwater Horizon oil from Florida’s beaches alone (not including Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana or Texas). On an average survey day, the FDEP team covers no more than 1,000 yards of beach, less than 1% of Florida’s shoreline that was impacted by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

These numbers thus represent a very limited snapshot of residual oiling on Northwest Florida’s beaches. If one were to extrapolate this data to include all of Florida’s Gulf beaches, as well as the coasts of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, it would not be hard to imagine that the problem is much more pervasive and lasting than BP is willing to admit.

Worse, much of this oil material is contaminated with deadly, flesh-eating bacteria. Laypeople should not handle.

It is important to note that these reports of daily oil discoveries come at a time when BP is attempting to renege on its oft-stated “Commitment to the Gulf.” The company is repudiating the Contract it made with area businesses and individuals that compensates them for economic and environmental losses associated with BP’s spill.

Now BP claims that it is the victim. You be the judge, and if you are outraged, sign our petition to encourage President Obama to hold BP accountable, nearly four years after the company’s disaster.

Readers may find daily reports of the FDEP’s findings here. What follows is a summary of FDEP’s reports, including number and volume of tar balls recovered, as well as associated photos, filed for the week of February 16, 2014, nearly four years after the spill.

BP Oil Collection Statistics

Amount of BP Deepwater Horizon tar balls (“SRBs”) collected for the week of February 16, 2014, as well as cumulative volumes since BP ceased active cleanup operations in June 2013.

Tar Balls from BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Found in 2014

Portion of BP oil observed Monday, February 17, 2014 on Escambia County, Florida beaches. These hardened balls are often filled with deadly, flesh-eating bacteria. Do not handle without protective gloves. Photos courtesy of FDEP.

Tar Balls from BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Found in 2014

Portion of BP oil observed Monday, February 17, 2014 on Escambia County, Florida beaches.

Tar Balls from BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Found in 2014

Portion of BP oil observed Monday, February 17, 2014 on Escambia County, Florida beaches.

Tar Balls from BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Found in 2014

Portion of BP oil observed Tuesday, February 18, 2014 on Escambia County, Florida beaches.

Tar Balls from BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Found in 2014

Portion of BP oil observed Tuesday, February 18, 2014 on Escambia County, Florida beaches.

Tar Balls from BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Found in 2014

Portion of BP oil observed Wednesday, February 19, 2014 on Escambia County, Florida beaches.

Tar Balls from BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Found in 2014

Portion of BP oil observed Wednesday, February 19, 2014 on Escambia County, Florida beaches.

Click for all daily and weekly BP beach oil pollution reports since January 1, 2014.

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