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The following is a summary of the 3/12/14 daily beach oiling report issued by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). I will endeavour to publish this summary each day the FDEP issues such a report. While the media and public believe that the effects of BP’s Deepwater Horizon Blowout and Oil Spill have been largely eradicated, this data suggests otherwise.

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 hold BP accountable, nearly four years after the company’s disaster.

My Summary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection Oiling Report

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Today, FDEP personnel Dominic Marcanio and Joey Whibbs conducted a post-response monitoring survey on Walton County, Florida beaches, with a focus in the Deer Lake State Park 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.

Today’s findings indicate that oil from BP’s Deepwater Horizon spill is still quite prevalent. A total of 524 tar balls were collected during today’s survey, amounting to over 1.5 pounds of Deepwater Horizon oil product removed from these sections of beach.

Since the end of BP’s official cleanup efforts in June 2013, over 35,500 tar balls and 1,927 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

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 an image of some of today’s collected oil.

Portion of BP oil observed Wednesday, March 12, 2014 on Escambia County, Florida beaches. These hardened balls are often filled with deadly, flesh-eating bacteria. Do not handle without protective gloves. Photo courtesy of FDEP.
Portion of BP oil observed Wednesday, March 12, 2014 on Escambia County, Florida beaches. These hardened balls are often filled with deadly, flesh-eating bacteria. Do not handle without protective gloves. Photo courtesy of FDEP.

 Click to see prior beach reports


  1. Gravatar for Eyeswideopen

    BP reached an agreement to start bidding again. Can someone file an objection until they honor the settlement they enter with the PSC.

  2. Gravatar for peter murray

    Hello, Tom,

    Did I read yesterday that less than a pound was collected, and today I read that 1 1/2 pounds were collected.

    A few days ago you explained to me that generally collections are made from the worst affected areas of beach, and you went so far as to write that tar balls are also collected from the sea, presumably before they reach the beach.

    I predate North Sea Oil, but still remember visits to the seaside being marred by the occasional tar ball. Where they came from I don't know - perhaps (probably) from shipping. I am not suggesting that your tar balls are anything but BP's product.

    While your indignation shines through admirably, perhaps it is time to think of alternative or supplementary collection systems, given that you are reporting very little recovery at present (and presumably from the worst affected areas).

    Perhaps civic minded individuals, aided by local authorities, can be exhorted to collect a little of this tar when they visit the beach. It would be no great hardship.

    Here in Australia our local authorities provide doggy bags for people who exercise their dogs on the few dog beaches, and rubbish bins for the used bags. Perhaps something similar can be implemented in Florida, for people picking up a little tar?

  3. Peter,

    Yesterday 7 pounds were collected.

    By two people who walk less than 1,000 yards of beach.

    And they typically only collect 50% of what they see, so let's say they observed 14 pounds yesterday.

    On beaches consistently ranked in the global top ten, I doubt tourists would be thrilled to be enlisted in the suggested voluntary clean-up corp.

    Growing up on Gulf of Mexico beaches, I too remember stepping on the occasional tar ball in the 1970's. In fact, my grandmother always had turpentine at the ready for removal purposes.

    That said, I had not seen a tar ball on my Gulf beach since probably 1980 until BP. Alas, in the good ol' days 9 out of 10 doctors smoked Camels and asbestos was a miracle product.

    Fortunately we progress.


  4. Gravatar for John E. Overmyer
    John E. Overmyer

    It is not fair that BP should have an opportunity to bid on US properties until they meet their agreements from the BP Spill. When they meet their prior agreements, they should have the opportunity to bid.

  5. Gravatar for John E Overmyer

    BP is not a US company and yet we let them treat our citizens and be allowed to bid on developing oil rights to US property and not meet the commitments they made in a US Court of Law.

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