Greenpeace Says Oil from BP Spill Remains in Gulf

The environmental group Greenpeace isn’t buying the government’s assertions that most of the oil from the BP oil spill has disappeared from the Gulf of Mexico. What’s more, Greenpeace says its laboratory tests prove that crude still remains on the sea floor.

At a news conference yesterday to mark the end of a three-month expedition by the group’s Arctic Sunrise vessel, Greenpeace microbiologist John Hocevar said that test results from a single oiled sediment sample taken in late September from 1 mile deep and about 4 1/2 miles from the spill site confirmed that the oil was from the BP spill.

The Arctic Sunrise spent three months looking for oil and marine life in trouble after it arrived in the Gulf following the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. Greenpeace is working with scientists from over a dozen institutions and the Gulf Restoration Network to try and get a better understanding of the true impacts of BP’s oil spill.

Federal agencies have said that most of the oil spilled into the Gulf has evaporated, dissipated, been dispersed or been burned and skimmed. Government scientists also say they have not found any visible oil on the sea floor so far.

“One of the things that has been important about this is that it was independent scientists, so we don’t take corporate or government money. It’s independent,” said Captain Pater Willcox, who has been with Greenpeace for over 30 years, and brought the Arctic Sun to the Gulf after the BP oil spill.

At yesterday’s news conference, Hocevar said the White House should have waited before lifting the moratorium on drilling in the Gulf because so much about the spill remains unknown.

The BP oil spill began with an explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that killed 11 men on April 20. All attempts to staunch the gusher failed, until a cap was successfully deployed over the well on July 15. By that time roughly 4.4 million barrels of oil had leaked into the Gulf of Mexico. It was the largest offshore oil disaster in US history.

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