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Has BP done enough to clean area beaches?
When folks walk along our beaches they typically look for things like shells and seaweed but the Department Of Environmental Protection says they are also finding pounds of oil. The beach couldn't look prettier--the sugar white sand and crystal clear water--it's what draws thousands of people to our beaches each year. But what you can't see is the oil The county says tons of it is still washing up.
Buck Lee of the Santa Rosa Island Authority says, "Normally we get about 10 pounds a week. The Key got 28 pounds; two months ago we got 450 pounds. For the Coast Guard to say we are pulling out--I think that's wrong."
Thursday, four pounds were found on Pensacola Beach. The problem is it now takes awhile to get anyone out here to clean it up. On June 1st, BP stopped actively cleaning up what they believe is oil from the Deepwater disaster. Now everyone has to go through a national response center hot line. Mr. Lee describes the process: he calls the 800 number in Washington D.C., "They in turn call the Coast Guard, the Coast Guard will then drive to Pensacola Beach, then they will call BP workers. They may get here the next day, whether its still there or been taken back out to gulf.
Blair Brockinton thinks it's too soon for the clean up crews to leave, because he has seen the oil. "Going out boating in the bays--see little bitty tarballs-- seemed BP wasn't doing a really good job of cleaning up. He's also stepped in it. "It doesn't come off easy, you have to scrub it like sandpaper to get it off."
That's why he and the county agree. More than 70 pounds of oil washing up in one week does not mean "cleaned up."
If you do see any oil: First off you are advised not to touch it. Plus the Santa Rosa Island Authority wants to know about it so give them a call.