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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:

BP Survey Map
Less than 1,000 yards are covered in the typical survey.
From this data, it appears BP has left town well before the job was done. So much for the company’s “Commitment to the Gulf.”

See below for images of some of today’s collected oil.

Massive BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill tar mat discovered in Escambia County, Florida
FDEP Environmental Specialist Joey Whibbs points to a massive BP oil tar mat submerged off Fort Pickens Beach in Escambia County, Florida on Thursday, February 27, 2014.
BP submerged oil tar mat
Oil from BP’s 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout reveals itself in otherwise crystalline Gulf waters in the form of a massive submerged tar mat discovered today by FDEP personnel.
BP oil fort pickens
A closer look at BP’s oil in the gin clear waters of North Florida.
Dominic Marcanio and Joey Whibbs remove BP oil
FDEP personnel Dominic Marcanio and Joey Whibbs use shovels to pry Deepwater Horizon oil from the bottom.
BP oil formation
Large BP Deepwater Horizon oil formation found on Thursday, February 27, 2014 in Escambia County, Florida Gulf waters.
BP oil thickness
Photo illustrating the thickness of the BP oil tar mat discovered today off Fort Pickens in the Florida Panhandle.
BP oil spill tubular formation
Unusual tubular formation exhibited by BP oil find.
BP oil Fort Pickens
Oil residue collecting on Fort Pickens Beach as FDEP personnel excavate massive offshore submerged oil mat weighing over 1,250 pounds.
Yet more oily material found today.
Yet more oily material found today.
BP Deepwater oil disposal
The team prepares to dispose of today’s discovery.

Click to see prior beach reports


  1. Gravatar for Kenneth Collins

    this is the same area I went out and looked at extensively with Gregg Hall in September of 2010. A great deal of oil was left where it was out there. There are a lot more of these to be found in the future. Dispersants like corexit only made the cleanup more difficult. There are oil mats all over the place out at Fort Pickens and Santa Rosa Island, you just have to dig deep enough to find them. Thanks BP! Thanks Obama!

  2. Gravatar for Eyeswideopen

    With the latest discovery of oil off the Florida beaches I’m surprised BP hasn’t lobbied to move drilling platforms 50 feet off the shoreline.

    Oh that’s right this isn’t new oil the latest discovery was from the disappearing oil trick.

    By the way whatever happened to the guy who stated that the oil is gone do to the biodegradation?

    I guess the microbes went on strike because of the hazardous working conditions, slow pay and temperature weren’t above 40 degrees required to be productive.

  3. Gravatar for Kelly

    The oil is still out there. I have underwater video of the tarballs on many different days for the last 4 years since the spill.

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