BP PLC says it wants to aggressively clean up buried oil exposed on Louisiana's beaches by Hurricane Isaac's churning waves.
The company wants to dig deep into beaches and remove oil buried since a BP well blew out on April 20, 2010, leading to the nation's largest offshore spill.
But digging deep can bring its own problems — it can be harmful to creatures that live on beaches or feed on them and it also may lead to erosion by loosening up sand. Erosion is a constant worry in Louisiana because the state is losing land at an alarming rate.
Transocean Ltd. and the Justice Department have discussed a $1.5 billion settlement that would resolve federal civil and criminal claims against the company over its role in the deadly 2010 rig explosion that spawned the nation's worst offshore oil spill.
But Switzerland-based Transocean Ltd. said in a regulatory filing Monday that a "number of issues," including the possible time period for payment, must be resolved before a deal can be completed.
A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment.
The Louisiana governor's top coastal adviser says a dead whale has been reported washed ashore on Fourchon beach.
Garrett Graves said Friday the state was sending workers to examine the whale, which washed up southwest of New Orleans.
The size and species of the whale was not yet known. Graves said the whale was found in an area where tar balls and mats of weathered oil have been washing ashore from waters churned by Hurricane Isaac, resulting in the closure of a small portion of coastal waters to commercial fishing.
Laboratory tests show that globs of oil found on two Louisiana beaches after Hurricane Isaac came from the 2010 BP spill.
Tests run by Louisiana State University for state wildlife officials confirmed that oil found on Elmer's Island and Grand Isle matched the biological fingerprint of the hundreds of millions of gallons of oil that spewed from BP's Macondo well.
On Wednesday, BP said oil from its spill had been exposed by Isaac's waves and that the company would work to clean it up.
Lingering effects of Hurricane Isaac in Louisiana include more than 20,000 electric customers still without power, an estimated 700 people still in shelters and gobs of weathered oil washing ashore along a stretch of coastline.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it has approved more than $10 million in individual and housing assistance for more than 4,800 families as of Wednesday morning.
The Justice Department is urging a federal judge to ignore BP's assertion that the Gulf Coast's natural resources are making a "robust recovery" from its massive 2010 oil spill.
In a strongly worded court filing Friday, government lawyers also renewed their vow to prove BP engaged in gross negligence or willful misconduct leading up to the deadly rig explosion that killed 11 workers and spawned the nation's worst offshore oil spill. BP could be liable for billions of dollars in fines if U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier sides with the government.
The state Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is closing off 13 miles of waters off Port Fouchon after a tar mat and tar balls surfaced. The Coast Guard is not yet ready to say it’s oil from the BP spill two years ago.