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US Coast Guard calls BP's spill cleanup claim premature

17 April 2014

BP announced an end to the “active cleanup” of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on April 17. In a statement, the UK-based oil giant said work has finished on a final 5 km stretch of Louisiana coastline, leaving no more contaminated sites to clean. From now on, BP and the USCG will be responding to specific reports of oil washing ashore rather than actively seeking it out.

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Stock image

“BP has spent more than US$14bn and more than 70m personnel hours on response and cleanup activities,” says Laura Folse, BP’s executive vice president for response and environmental restoration.

“Even though active cleanup has ended, we will keep resources in place to respond quickly at the Coast Guard’s direction if potential Macondo oil is identified and requires removal.”
The USCG said that the cleanup process was simply moving on to the next phase, rather than coming to a complete stop.

“Our response posture has evolved to target re-oiling events on coastline segments that were previously cleaned,” says Captain Thomas Sparks, who coordinates the USCG’s response to the spill..

Capt. Sparks said he was "shocked" at the tone and theme of BP's press release. "BP does not speak for the Coast Guard, and we are a long way from the response being complete or for business as usual," he said.

“Let me be absolutely clear:  This response is not over – not by a long shot.  The transition […] does not end clean-up operations, and we continue to hold the responsible party accountable for Deepwater Horizon cleanup costs.”

"We have never suggested the work of the US Coast Guard or BP is over," BP spokesman Geoff Morrell said. "Our announcement merely highlighted the end of active cleanup of the Gulf shoreline. We believe that is a very significant achievement that resulted from four years of sustained work."

The Macondo well leak in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010 was the largest ever and has left BP and its partners – including Transocean and Halliburton – embroiled in a series of costly court cases. The trial to determine how blame for the accident will be allocated is continuing.

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