More than one million tourists have flocked to the South for Mardi Gras, and hundreds of thousands of those revelers have settled in for a few days along the Gulf Coast. Those who decided to enjoy the festivities along the Gulf of Mexico might be in for something they didn’t expect: oil tar mats.
On Thursday of last week, workers on Pensacola Beach, Florida spotted and brought to shore a 1,200 pound oil tar mat, which officials say accounted for about 90% of the total size of the mat. While the bulk of the mat was a mixture of sand and other debris, scientists ran tests and were quickly able to determine that the oil in the mat was a perfect match for the oil released into the Gulf of Mexico during the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, as the Pensacola News Journal explains:
The weathered oil from the tar mat was confirmed to be MC-252 oil from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Although the waters of the Gulf of Mexico were once scoured regularly for residual oil from the spill, physical searches were phased out as the number of sightings began to dwindle.
In the summer of 2013, BP pulled their cleanup crews from the Gulf Coast, assuring residents and tourists alike that the oil spill was all cleaned up. A few months later, the U.S. Coast Guard made similar claims to the public.
Furthermore, the public was assured as early as May 2010 — just one month after the oil leak began — that the majority of the oil would simply “dissolve” into the Gulf of Mexico. This latest tar mat is undeniable evidence that oil from BP’s disaster still remains in the Gulf.