BP workers used fishing nets to scoop tar balls off Alabama’s Gulf Coast beaches yesterday after the sands were fouled by gooey, dark gobs churned up by heavy surf from tropical system Lee.
Both the company and area officials said it would be days before tests confirmed whether the tar balls were from last year’s massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but BP contractors were removing the pollution anyway.
Grant Brown, a spokesman for the City of Gulf Shores, said residents have feared more oil remains on the gulf’s sandy floor despite months of cleaning.
“It’s more proof that there still are offshore tar mats and it’s washing ashore . . . and it’s going to continue, it looks like, coming to shore,’’ said Brown.
Relatively few tourists were on the beaches as the cleanup began. Crews picked up hundreds of tar balls, which were dumped into large plastic bags and hauled off the beach for disposal.
Rep. Michele Bachmann still hasn’t won over any converts among her presidential rivals with her pledge to get gas prices below $2 a gallon.
At Wednesday’s POLITICO/NBC Republican presidential debate, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman splashed the biggest bucket of cold water on the idea.
“Of course not,” Huntsman said when asked if Bachmann’s plan was realistic. “We live in the free market economy. I’m not sure that dictating prices is going to get you anywhere.”
While Rep. Ron Paul wasn’t asked directly about Bachmann’s $2 gasoline promise, the Texas GOP congressman planted his flag on the issue, too. “I can do much better than that,” he said. “I can get you a gallon of gasoline for a dime.”
“You can buy a gallon of gas today for a silver dime,” Paul added. “A silver dime is worth $3.50. It’s all about inflation and too many regulations.”
Paul’s time allotment ran out before he had a chance to elaborate.,
BP PLC said one of the company’s first wells drilled in the Gulf of Mexico since last year’s Deepwater Horizon disaster has yielded oil in a previously untested area.
“With these additional hydrocarbon resources north of the main field,” said BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley, the discovery “has been firmly established as a giant field in BP’s Gulf of Mexico portfolio.”
Mr. Dudley has been under pressure from investors to come up with new sources of growth after a landmark Russian Arctic exploration deal unraveled this year. The company now estimates the Gulf field to hold up to the equivalent of 4 billion barrels of oil and natural gas.
The well, drilled by Anglo-Australian firm BHP Billiton on behalf of BP, found 50 meters, or 164 feet of oil and gas and an oil column more than 91 meters long, the company said. The fieldis located in a field some 140 miles south of Grand Isle, La., in about 4,500 feet of water.
As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney created a fund to invest in green energy, said alternative energy could generate jobs and approved bills allowing cities to build fields of solar panels.
“Now is the time to refocus its assets in such a manner that it can become a major economic springboard for the commonwealth by focusing on job creation in the renewable energy sector,” Romney said in 2003 of the state’s energy trust fund that year.
Eight years later, it appears Romney, as he seeks the Republican nomination for president, has had a change of heart.