Tar balls wash up in Texas for 6th straight day; Coast Guard denies BP link, then won’t respond to questions

Saturday, July 10, 2010
By Paul Martin

FloridaOilSpillLaw.com
July 10th, 2010

Origins of Texas tar balls remain a mystery, Houston Chronicle, July 9, 2010:

The source of oil on Texas beaches remained a mystery to state and local officials Friday as they awaited lab results from tests on recently collected tar balls.

A Coast Guard spokesman told the Associated Press that new results showed that most of the globs of weathered oil didn’t come from the BP’s runaway well in the Gulf of Mexico.

But Texas and federal officials could not confirm the report, and the Coast Guard didn’t respond to requests for comment.

“It’s all over the board,” Nancy Brown, a Texas-based U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman, said of the test results. “Some of the results are from the BP spill, and others are not. It depends on the day.” …

Coast Guard officials had said that five boats and barges that aided in the cleanup of the massive spill may have carried the oil to Texas, not ocean currents. The first sight of oil on the state’s coast came July 3, with tar balls found along Galveston Island and the Bolivar Peninsula.

On Friday, Coast Guard spokesman Petty Officer Richard Brahm told the AP that only tar balls found along McFaddin Beach near Port Arthur on Monday came from the BP spill. The confusion resulted from a mistake made at a lab in Houma, La., he said.

“It turns out that almost all the tar balls are not BP,” Brahm said.

Jim Suydam, a spokesman for the Texas General Land Office, which is responsible for cleaning up spilled oil, said the source of the tar balls is not a primary issue for the state agency.

“From our perspective, it doesn’t matter where they come from,” Suydam said. “We just pick them up. The origin is really a billing issue for later.”

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