ORANGE BEACH, Alabama – The latest report on BP’s clean up of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill is causing concerns for what it says and what it doesn’t say. Some along the coast see the report as permission for BP to get out of town.
There is no doubt, Baldwin County beaches look better now than they did, after the oil spill.
“We’re not there yet obviously with the strike teams having to address episodic tar ball events,” says Orange Beach Coastal Resource Manager Phillip West.
But a 35-page report prepared by the Coast Guard, NOAA, EPA, BP and others concludes once current cleaning operations are finished any further cleaning would do more damage to the environment than leaving remaining oil in place.
“The deep cleaning was very effective but the primary impact that remains for us is the residual affects of the oil mats and the tar balls,” says West.
The report doesn’t address the tar and oil that remains under water just off the coast according to West. “I think its still relatively non-toxic. It’s the fact that it is still there and we’d like it gone.”
Beaches, like in Orange Beach, are considered clean by the report although we could find tar balls just about anywhere we looked but still the beaches meet the standard of “no further treatment.”
“There is no doubt, March 1st is their deadline and they’re going to leave us high and dry.” Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon says the report is basically a get out of jail free card for BP. “This whole thing is bizarre to me because I thought there whole original mandate was to clean up the mess. They have not cleaned up the mess. I want that understood.”
Clean up operations are scheduled to be complete by early March.
BP says they are moving forward where necessary and appropriate. In a statement released to News Five, BP media representative Justin Saia says in part, “BP is still here and we are committed to working with the Gulf Coast communities to complete the response and restoration efforts.”