Oil from Deepwater here? No … and yes
mcfaddin’s tar balls, not Galveston’s or Bolivar’s, only ones linked to spill
Tar balls associated with the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster have washed up on Texas beaches, just not the particular tar balls state and federal officials first fingered.
On Friday, the U.S. Coast Guard backed away from its claim that tar balls that appeared over the Fourth of July weekend on the shores of Galveston and the Bolivar Peninsula could be traced to the Deepwater Horizon spill. But in a confusing twist, the Coast Guard says that tar balls that showed up in McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge on July 5 are from the Deepwater spill.
On Monday, approximately 550 gallons of a mix of sand and oil were collected from McFaddin Beach, roughly 40 miles east of Galves- ton, according to the Coast Guard. The tar balls and patties at the site ranged from baseball-sized to 5-by5-foot mats and were confirmed as a positive match by the government-contracted lab in Houma, La., and the Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Lab in Connecticut.
The Fourth of July weekend findings in Galveston and the Bolivar Peninsula, initially traced to the Deepwater Horizon spill by the Louisiana lab, had led to a news conference in which Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said the appearance of the gooey, tacky oil was a surprise because forecasters had not
Continued from A expected Deepwater Horizon oil to reach Texas shores. He and other officials speculated that the oil had leaked from barges bearing oily water from the spill site, rather than traveling naturally by wind and currents.
The announcement of the Deepwater oil turning up on Texas shores turned heads because it was the first sign that oil from the disaster, which began when a rig exploded in April, had reached Texas.
But on Friday the Coast Guard said further analysis of the Bolivar and Galveston tar balls in its own Connecticut lab found no match.
“We don’t really care where they’re from,” said Jim Suydam, a spokesman for the land office.
“If there are tar balls on the beach, we pick them up as fast as possible, and we don’t ask where they came from.”
Beaches in the area remain open.
Workers scoop oil-coated plants in Galveston on Friday. Officials said that tar balls found on the beach over the Fourth of July weekend were not linked to the Deepwater Horizon spill, as previously thought. Tar balls found on McFaddin Beach, farther east, have been linked to the Deepwater disaster.