The following is a summary of the 2/27/14 daily beach oiling report issued by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP).
With today’s disturbing find (detailed below), 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.
My Summary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Oiling Report
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Today, FDEP personnel Dominic Marcanio and Joey Whibbs conducted a post-response monitoring survey on Escambia County, Florida beaches, with a focus in the Fort Pickens area.
Numerous Surface Residue Balls (SRBs or “tar balls”) were found throughout the area. These hardened balls are often filled with deadly, flesh-eating bacteria. Do not handle without protective gloves.
Exceptionally calm conditions allowed the team to survey a few yards offshore, and as a result, a large submerged oil mat was found east of the Fort Pickens Ranger Station. The oil mat measured about 3 yards by 3 yards in diameter, was up to 15-20 centimeters thick, and was found about 7 yards offshore in water that was about 3 feet deep.
Immediately upon discovery, a National Response Center report was filed. The team then met with United States Coast Guard personnel in the field shortly thereafter. As a cooperative effort, FDEP personnel removed the oil mat with shovels. By the end of the day, 1,250 pounds of BP oil was removed. And although about 90% of the visible oil was mitigated by FDEP personnel using shovels, some material could remain. Further investigation will take place tomorrow, Friday, February 28th.
What is remarkable is that this segment of beach has been previously surveyed nine times by FDEP since the end of BP’s active Deepwater Horizon response in June 2013. Prior to today’s discovery, the nine previous surveys of this beach segment resulted in collection of 32 pounds of BP Deepwater Horizon oil material, otherwise known as “MC-252 product.” However, through the persistent and proactive monitoring by FDEP personnel, a significant deposit of MC-252 oil was located and removed today.
Without this monitoring program in place, it is unlikely that such a deposit (or any future deposits) would have been located and removed. Unfortunately, the FDEP beach monitoring program is scheduled to be discontinued in June 2014. Keep in mind that these FDEP teams are taxpayer funded. BP does not incur any of these costs.
In addition to this massive tar mat removal, 115 tar balls were collected during today’s survey, for a total of 1,253 pounds of Deepwater Horizon oil product removed from these sections of beach this afternoon. This is an extraordinary amount for such a small area – less than 1,000 yards – particularly considering that we are approaching the four year anniversary of the spill.
Since the end of BP’s official cleanup efforts in June 2013, over 34,316 tar balls and 1,750 pounds of Deepwater Horizon oil have been documented and removed 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. Therefore, these numbers represent a very limited snapshot of residual oiling on Northwest Florida’s beaches.
For instance, this is an example of the ground covered in an average survey:
See below for images of some of today’s collected oil.
As a plaintiff attorney, Tom Young has been at the forefront of some of the Nation's worst disasters. In 2015, he was judicially appointed to represent over 200,000 plaintiffs in an allocation proceeding involving a $1.24 billion settlement with Deepwater Horizon contractor Halliburton and rig owner Transocean. Currently, he's focused on representing numerous communities across the country that have been ravaged by the opioid epidemic and are now seeking damages from drug manufacturers and distributors.