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BP Oil Spill, Tar Balls Churned up by Isaac

Common Dreams staff

Clean-up workers collect tar balls of oil on a contaminated beach in Grand Isle, Louisiana. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Oil that has washed up along the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac has now been traced to the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster of 2010, according to scientists who examined the waste.

Scientists at Louisiana State University (LSU) ran tests on the large globs of oil waste, known as 'tar balls', that washed up on the shores of two Louisiana beaches last week. The tests revealed the waste matched the biological makeup of the hundreds of millions of gallons of oil that originated from the BP spill.

Since hurricane Isaac landed last week, tar balls have been washing up on beaches in Alabama and Louisiana, and on Tuesday, "a large tar mat" was discovered on the beaches of Louisiana's Elmer's Island, according to the Guardian. State officials were forced close a 13-mile stretch of beach and restricted fishing in the area.

Ed Overton, the LSU chemist who did the state tests, told the Guardian that more oil was likely buried along the coast, but it is difficult to uncover and clean up. The team of scientists stated that since 2010, tropical storms have consistently washed up oil debris along the coast.

"We're in year three and this seems to be the new normal for the Gulf Coast," Researcher Joel Hayworth said. "For some unforeseeable time, this is going to be the new normal for the beach."

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