Photos: Oil Washing Up On The Gulf Coast After Hurricane Isaac

by Joe Smyth, via The Witness blog

Oil is washing up along the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Isaac, confirming concerns that the storm could churn up oil in the Gulf of Mexico. A Greenpeace research team took samples from beaches along the Alabama coast on September 2, including from an area with hundreds of tar balls in the Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge.

Hundreds of tar balls on the beach at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge, Alabama on September 2, 2012

According to the US Coast Guard, oiled pelicans and other wildlife have been found in Louisiana marshes as well. As people struggle with flooding, wind damage, and power outages in the wake of the hurricane, officials have expressed concerns that on top of that disaster, Hurricane Isaac may stir up oil from the BP spill:

“This is another disaster on top of the hurricane that we’re going to have to deal with,” Garret Graves, chairman of Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, told The Huffington Post. “The threat is not insignificant.”

Up to 1 million barrels of oil are estimated to remain in the Gulf of Mexico. That oil remains, Graves said, because BP has failed to clean it all up in the more than two years since the tragedy. “That’s four to five times the oil that was spilled with the Exxon Valdez,” he added.

One of the tar balls on the beach at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge

Meanwhile, officials in Washington DC are calling on federal agencies to provide an update on their oil spill cleanup efforts in the wake of Hurricane Isaac:

Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) wants two federal agencies to explain how they will address lingering oil contamination from the 2010 explosion of the BP Deepwater Horizon drilling rig.

Markey told the heads of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in letters sent Friday that Hurricane Isaac makes the Gulf of Mexico cleanup effort imperative.

— Joe Smyth is a media officer with Greenpeace USA. This piece was originally published at Greenpeace’s The Witness blog and was reprinted with permission.

13 Responses to Photos: Oil Washing Up On The Gulf Coast After Hurricane Isaac

  1. Ozonator says:

    Shocked! Shocked! T-Bobby Jindal promised that all the sand berms that he designed in Looter Limbaugh’s golden bathtub, and paid for with BP’s free money, would stop all the oil for as “long as the grass grew and the rivers flowed”. It was the best of all possible worlds for the GOP not to build any infrastructure to threaten the EssoKochs nor blame them for all the marsh loss and human cancers.

  2. Zimzone says:

    Makes one wonder if all those ‘the Gulf is open and has never been better’ commercials are actually bought & paid for by BP.

  3. Nancy Kaminski says:

    BP Oil is still in the Gulf. You can’t disperse it, you can’t ignore it, it is OIL, you must remove it or it will keep coming back to bite you in the ass. DUH!

  4. Ken Barrows says:

    Heard this morning on local radio about dead rodents in spades on Mississippi beaches. Guess we know what the station thinks is more important. Probably Clear Channel.

  5. squidboy6 says:

    Tar mats have been found off Port Fourchon and large sections of the coast are being closed. They’ll keep the news media out as well as the fisherman, sportsman, and beach-visitor.

    If you need to document it then you better hire a boat and go around the mercenaries.

  6. squidboy6 says:

    In addition there’s “A Coast Guard spokesman also says significant amounts of oil have washed onto the Chandeleur Islands – part of a national wildlife refuge.” from HuffPost

  7. says:

    On Aug. 2, 2012 oily blobs of a transparent substance coated the beaches along Okaloosa Island. I collected a sample, and phoned the local authorities. I believe this ‘unknown’ matter is the disbursements that BP dumped in the ocean to ‘weigh-down’ the oil to the ocean floor… WHY HAVE WE NOT HEARD ANYTHING ABOUT THIS!?

  8. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Is that ‘berm’ as in Tony Galento’s memorable refrain, Í’ll moider da berm!’?

  9. C. Bruce Richardson Jr. says:

    When I was a kid just starting high school, I was on a field trip to Galveston Island. I’m 65 years old now. I saw tar balls on the beach and expressed concern about passing ships dumping such messy stuff. Our instructor, who was a geologist, laughed and explained that most of such tar balls were the result of natural seepage from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. He said that the Karankawa Indians that lived on the Gulf Coast gathered those tar balls and used them in the building of their canoes. Actually we were looking for gar scale arrowheads at a Karankawa village site. The last of the Karankawas died in the early 1800’s. At times, like after a storm, more of it is washed ashore. At other times less. I’m not suggesting that all of the tar balls pictured are natural. But for anyone who is interested, the “rest of the story” is that a lot of them and maybe most of them probably are the result of nature’s oil spill rather than BP’s. Nature has been spilling it for a heck of a lot longer than BP did. Why aren’t there massive deposits of tar on the shoreline of the Gulf? Nature has a way of cleaning it up. The stuff is biodegradable. It’s food for certain organisms.

  10. Deej says:

    You mean to tell me that oil and water don’t mix? haha

  11. Barbara says:

    Obama approved the dispersant use. We residents of the Gulf Coast were horrified. You cannot clean up something if you sink it to the bottom of the “ocean” floor. Now, researchers have found that the food chain has been interrupted. The microscopic sealife (which can consume natural oils, but not chemically treated oil) is dying at an alarming rate, which will have devastating effects on all sea life over the next several years. Please do not just assume that because someone belongs to one party or the other, that they are all good or all bad. You look like idiots when you do that.

  12. Rotkapchen says:

    Bruce: I’m not suggesting that there isn’t plenty of blame to go around, but I always marvel at times where we spend too much time looking for someone to ‘blame’ and the only culprit is the resilient cycles of life itself.

    As well, you pointed out how so many are focused on the negative and not on the ‘free resource’ that could be considered.

    Thanks for sharing.

  13. Kermit Johnson says:

    Did any of you not look at the first photo? Now tell me that it is caused by natural seepage.
    You just would not be able to walk on that beach without getting tar balls stuck to your shoes or feet.