Coast Guard warns of fresh oil sheen from Deepwater Horizon

By Stephen C. Webster
Thursday, October 11, 2012 14:46 EDT
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A swan covered in crude oil. Photo: Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.
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A fresh oil sheen spotted recently in the Gulf of Mexico matches crude spilled during the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the U.S. Coast Guard said Wednesday.

Engineers with Deepwater Horizon rig operator BP reported the sheen on September 16, after spotting it on satellite photos. The Coast Guard said that tests conducted by the Marine Safety Laboratory confirmed that the oil “correlates” to the Deepwater Horizon spill.

The Coast Guard issued a “Notice of Federal Interest” on Wednesday night, warning BP and Transocean that they may be held liable for ongoing testing and assessment efforts. Officials added that the sheen does not pose a threat to sensitive coastal areas.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that BP is nearing a settlement with the Justice Department that could merge its civil and criminal liabilities and knock them out with a single, multi-billion-dollar payment. It was not clear what the range of the final settlement total might be. The company has also agreed to pay $7.8 billion to victims of the spill who say their livelihoods were affected.

The 2010 oil spill began after an explosion on the rig killed 11 men. It went on to become the largest accidental oil spill in human history.

Photo: Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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