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Oil Sullies Coast as Department of Justice Slams BP Settlement

Posted: Sep 11, 2012

 Tar ball and mats of old oil have washed ashore in the wake of Hurricane Isaac. The State of Louisiana closed a 12-mile stretch of shoreline in the Grand Isle area along with an area stretching from the shore to roughly one mile into the Gulf’s waters. Further, pelicans and other wildlife have been reported found covered with oil. Reports indicate that officials will be conducting tests to verify whether this petroleum debris stems from BP’s 2010 Macondo well disaster.

“There are reports of residual Macondo oil along the shorelines near Fouchon [sic] Beach and Grand Isle,” Arturo Silva, a spokesperson for BP, told The Louisiana Weekly via email. “These are areas that were in active response prior to Isaac, so it was expected… that these could be areas where highly weathered residual oil might be exposed.” Silva went on to point out “that there have been 90 reports of oil releases from other sources since the storm, and it is imperative that the parties responsible for that oil act in the same manner as BP and respond quickly in following Coast Guard directions.”

A New York Times report dated Sept. 6th confirmed that the oil washing ashore did originate with the Macondo well. Silva told The Louisiana Weekly that BP was conducting its own tests to verify these results. Deputy Director of the Gulf Restoration Network, Aaron Viles, offered a pointed critique. “Isaac’s aftermath shows that BP’s oil is still in the Gulf, and that the Coast Guard should never have allowed BP to stand-down cleanup efforts along Louisiana’s hard-hit coast.”

At the same time that Isaac was churning up an oily wake, the Department of Justice was addressing the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon spill, which dumped roughly 5 million barrels (205.8 million gallons) of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. On the last day of August, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a memo with the New Orleans Federal District Court asserting that BP has “a culture of corporate recklessness.” This memo followed a motion filed by BP earlier in the month asking the court to accept the settlement proposal that it had put forward in May. Just days later, The DOJ memo was followed by a filing from BP co-defendant, Halliburton, also asking Judge Carl Barbier to reject BP’s settlement offer. Read more here.

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