BP, and the US government, have decided that beaches in Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi are clean enough now compared to just after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, and that BP no longer needs to send out regular patrols to clean the tar from the coastline.
In the three years since the spill, BP has spent $14 billion on clean-up work according to The Huffington Post, and it whilst it has stopped directly searching for oil slicks and tar balls to clean up in the three states mentioned above, it will continue to send out crews in Louisiana, who was more affected by the spill.
Some locals and environmentalists wonder at the decision to stop patrolling the coast, believing that the effects of the spill are still very noticeable in some areas, but Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Natalie Murphy explained that the amounts of oil are minute compared to before, and it has gotten to the stage that the clean-up work itself could actually cause more damage to the environment as it damages habitats and nests for birds and sea turtles. (Related article: No End to BP Settlement Deal)
Compared to 2010, the chemicals smells and thick oil slicks across the sand have gone. On most beaches the white sand no stretches unmarred, for miles along Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi.
Now that BP has stopped sending out is own patrols the job of clearing up has fallen back on the old system that is used elsewhere around the country, whereby The Coast Guard investigates pollution on public beaches that has been reported by the public.
Environmentalists criticize this approach, stating that most people wouldn’t know what a tar ball looks like unless they actually come into contact with it and note the stain.