Sunday, February 25, 2018
News Roundup

Four years after oil spill, 1,250-pound tar mat washes ashore in Florida

Nearly four years after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, oil continues washing ashore in Florida. On Thursday, a crew from the state Department of Environmental Protection found a 1,250-pound tar mat in the surf off Pensacola Beach.

The mat measured about 9 feet long and 9 feet wide, the DEP crew noted in a report. They dug up as much of the gooey mess as they could and contractors hauled it away. On Friday they excavated another 100 pounds.

"What is remarkable about this area," noted DEP team members Dominic Marcanio and Joey Whibbs in their report, "is that this segment has been previously surveyed nine times" since last June, when the state and BP agreed to discontinue daily beach surveys.

The most oil that had ever been found in those nine prior checks amounted to about 32 pounds.

However, they wrote, what had also turned up there before were "drift cards" set out by Texas A&M scientists to check where oil might go.

The fact that the drift cards ended up there, and then a giant tar mat resembling congealed gravy, indicates "this may be a natural collection area" for other oil mats still drifting around in the Gulf of Mexico, they wrote.

The glop turned up 20 feet offshore in water about 3 feet deep, according to BP spokesman Jason Ryan. "This is not new material, and it is heavily weathered and consists mainly of sand, silt and other non-oil materials," he said.

Ryan contended the oil did not just wash in, but had been there all along and was recently uncovered by wave action.

Because of its contact with the oil, the whole thing had to be handled as hazardous material. The location posed a bit of a problem for BP's contracted cleanup crews, according to Petty Officer Michael Anderson of the Coast Guard.

BP's contractors aren't allowed to go out in the surf deeper than their knees, he explained. So DEP's two inspectors used their shovels to dig up the lumps of tar and carry them to shore, where the contractors could bag them up for disposal, he said.

The Deepwater Horizon disaster began with a fiery explosion aboard an offshore drilling rig on April 20, 2010. It held the nation spellbound for months as BP struggled to stop the oil, finally succeeding in July 2010. Since then the spill has largely faded from national headlines. The oil is still there, though, to the consternation of beach residents such as Susan Forsyth.

"If two guys can find this much oil," said Forsyth, who is also affiliated with the Surfrider Foundation, an environmental group, "how much more oil could they find if they had a lot more people out looking for it?"

 
Comments
Police: Man, 60, arrested for fleeing from fatal Largo pedestrian crash

Police: Man, 60, arrested for fleeing from fatal Largo pedestrian crash

LARGO — A 60-year-old man who police said was the driver in a fatal pedestrian hit-and-run on East Bay Drive from three days prior was arrested by Largo Police on Saturday, the department said.Victor Bonavita was arrested on three charges in relation...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Sheriff: Roads reopen after Tampa crash results in natural gas leak near Citrus Park Mall

Sheriff: Roads reopen after Tampa crash results in natural gas leak near Citrus Park Mall

TAMPA — Officials reopened roads near Citrus Park Mall Saturday evening that had been closed in the afternoon for a natural gas leak caused by a car crash, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said. The Sheriff’s Office and Hillsborough County Fi...
Updated: 9 hours ago

boca ratonState lawmakerencourages Scott to remove sheriffA lawmaker is calling on Florida Gov. Rick Scott to remove Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel from office after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. In a letter sent to ...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Two airlinescut ties withNRA aftershootings

The National Rifle Association lashed out at corporations rushing to abandon it on Saturday, as companies from United Airlines to Best Western have cut ties with the gun lobby organization.Without context, twin announcements from Delta and United air...
Updated: 10 hours ago

‘Up to States’ to armteachers, Trump tweets

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump appeared Saturday to begin refining his proposals for combatting school violence, tweeting that arming teachers as a deterrent against such often deadly violence — an idea he championed in recent days — is "Up to S...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Security Council demands30-day cease-fire in Syria

Security Council demands30-day cease-fire in Syria

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution Saturday demanding a 30-day cease-fire across Syria "without delay" to deliver humanitarian aid to millions and evacuate the critically ill and wounded. U.N. humanitarian ch...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Updated: 11 hours ago
Call her more than just a survivor

Call her more than just a survivor

TAMPA — On the quiet morning of Oct. 8, 2011, a 30-ton freight truck ran a stop sign in the small town of Clinton, Conn.It ran over Colleen Kelly Alexander, who was riding a bicycle.The truck's front wheels crushed her, then spit her to the bac...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Police: Male motorcyclist crashed, then the driver was run over by two cars

Police: Male motorcyclist crashed, then the driver was run over by two cars

TAMPA — A male motorcyclist died early Saturday morning on the Courtney Campbell Causeway, the Tampa Police Department said.About 1:35 a.m., the victim rode his motorcycle west on the Courtney Campbell at high speeds, police said. The motorcycle stru...
Published: 02/24/18
Northeast High alumnus Jon Mott wins 3rd Gasparilla 15K crown

Northeast High alumnus Jon Mott wins 3rd Gasparilla 15K crown

TAMPA — Roughly 20 minutes into Saturday morning's Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic 15K, reigning champ A.J. Richmond glanced over his left shoulder to former college teammate Jon Mott and flashed a quick hand signal."He was telling me that t...
Published: 02/24/18