40,000-Pound Tar Mat Discovered Off La. Coast

Jun 26, 2013

A 20-ton tar mat has been discovered off the coast of the Grand Terre barrier island, CNN is reporting.

The 40,000-pound mix of oil, sand, shells and seawater was dug out of the shallows by workers off Grand Terre over the last few weeks, according to Lt. Commander Natalie Murphy, a Coast Guard spokeswoman.

Murphy told CNN the tar mat was approximately 165 feet long and stretched about 65 feet wide, though only about 15% of the total weight was oil.

Cleanup crews have been scouring the Gulf Coast since the Deepwater Horizon disaster three years ago released millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf, fouling shorelines from Texas to Florida.

"A twenty-ton tar mat on Grand Terre is a vivid reminder that the effects of the 2010 Gulf oil disaster are far from over, despite BP’s glossy ad campaigns saying otherwise," a coalition of environmental groups said in a press release after the giant tar mat's discovery. "It is time for BP to be held accountable for its lasting damages to Gulf ecosystems, economies and communities."

The Coast Guard and BP, the oil company ultimately responsible for the disaster and the costs of the cleanup, recently declared major cleanup operations over in three Gulf states, though work continues in Louisiana.