BP, Once Again, Wants to Push the Oil Back Into the Gulf

On the 23rd, BP once again asked the Corps of Engineers for an Emergency Permit to “surf wash” the beaches of Louisiana–this time on Grand Isle. The concept behind this surf washing is to push the sand, “stained” by oil, back into the Gulf, and let the waves “clean” it. BP already proposed this once for Grand Terre Island, and then subsequently withdrew their proposal due to opposition from the public and federal agencies. We opposed the surf washing of Grand Terre, and also oppose the Corps issuing an Emergency Permit for this activity on Grand Isle. Even if this was a good idea, performing this activity while there is still potential for more oil to wash up on the shore makes no sense. In our comments we requested additional information to answer many unanswered questions regarding this proposal. For example, why do this project if more oil will wash up? How will machinery operators differentiate between oiled and “stained” sand? What are the impacts to endangered and sensitive species? How much oil will be pushed back into the Gulf? How can monitoring these projects for less than four days be adequate to determine the impacts? If BP wants to move forward with this surf washing, they should apply for a regular (non-emergency) permit after the threat of beached oil passes. This way the public will have a much better opportunity to weigh in. For our complete comments, go here. Matt is Water Resources Program Director for GRN

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