NEW ORLEANS (AP) — BP will no longer be responsible for cleaning up oil that washes up on the Gulf Coast unless officials can prove it comes from the company's well that blew out in 2010, causing the worst offshore spill in U.S. history, according to a plan approved by the Coast Guard and obtained by The Associated Press.
Through rigorous "fingerprint" testing, Louisiana State University (LSU) chemist Ed Overton confirmed that slicks sweeping across the Macondo Prospect since mid-August are made up of BP oil. "It is a dead-ringer match," Professor Overton said. "I was amazed that the ratios matched as good as they did."
The plan marks the near end of the cleanup phase of the oil spill, according to the Nov. 2 agreement obtained by the AP on Tuesday. Now, BP will turn its attention to restoring areas damaged by the spill that began on April 20, 2010, when the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded, killing 11 workers. About $1 billion has been set aside for those projects, an official says.
About 90 percent of the Gulf coast has been deemed clean, according to officials. The plan spells out protocol for when an area still needs to be cleaned and when BP's responsibility for that ends.
Louisiana officials wouldn't give their approval because they were concerned about what they perceived as a lack of long-term monitoring in the document. They also complained that the Coast Guard gave them only five days to review the plan, according to a letter sent to the agency by Garret Graves, a top aide to Gov. Bobby Jindal for coastal affairs.