UPDATE 1-Florida Keys tar balls are not from BP oil spill

Wed May 19, 2010 9:09am EDT

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MIAMI May 19 (Reuters) - Tar balls found on beaches in the Florida Keys this week are not from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill leaking from a well owned by BP (BP.L), the U.S. Coast Guard said on Wednesday, citing laboratory tests.

The news came as a temporary relief to Florida's tourism authorities, who are already reporting negative market impact from the month-long spillage from BP's leaking undersea well, the source of a huge slick that has already dumped oil debris ashore on the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

The source of the tar balls has not been determined, the Coast Guard said in a statement.

Coast Guard personnel and pollution experts had found around 50 tar balls in recent days in Florida's Lower Keys, a mecca for divers, snorkelers, fishermen and beach goers. They had sent them to a specialist laboratory to test whether or not they came from the Gulf of Mexico spill.

"The results of those tests conclusively show that the tar balls collected from Florida Keys beaches do not match the type of oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The source of the tar balls remains unknown at this time," the Coast Guard said in a statement.

But it remained on the alert for oil contamination.

"The conclusion that these tar balls are not from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill incident in no way diminishes the need to continue to aggressively identify and clean up tar ball-contaminated areas in the Florida Keys," said Captain Pat DeQuattro, commanding officer of Sector Key West.

Despite the laboratory result, Florida Keys authorities are still preparing for possible impact from the Gulf spill as many forecasters see some oil from it being sucked by a powerful ocean flow, the Loop Current, around the Florida Keys and perhaps even up to Miami beaches. (Reporting by Pascal Fletcher and Jane Sutton; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

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Comments (10)
tattoome5150 wrote:
More lies!!!!!

May 19, 2010 10:23am EDT  --  Report as abuse
Williamfree wrote:
This news brings relief? Wouldn’t this indicate that there’s another oil spill somewhere?

May 19, 2010 11:12am EDT  --  Report as abuse
sredge wrote:
Liar liar pants on fire. There’s no way they can definitively prove that these tar balls did not come from the catastrophe. BP was allowed to throw in chemical ‘dispersants’ and who knows what else, with who knows what result.
Here you see Deregulation and unbridled greed poisoning our oceans and ultimately all life on the planet. This catastrophe is the equivalent of an atomic bomb going off in the gulf, and BP thinks buying off the Coast Guard will keep them off the hook. They are all a bunch of bumbling morons out there, they had no business ever drilling in the first place, no one has a clue how to fix it, and you know what, we are all dead now, so who cares?

May 19, 2010 11:16am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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