By DEBBIE CAI
The US Coast Guard is ending active cleanup operations in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, concluding an extensive three-year effort to repair the Gulf of Mexico shoreline after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, BP said.
The oil and gas company has redoubled its safety efforts and strengthened its presence in the Gulf of Mexico in the wake of the explosion that unleashed the worst marine oil spill in US history and cost the company billions of dollars.
BP said Monday it has spent more than $14 billion and 70 million personnel hours on response and cleanup activities and the Gulf is returning to the condition it would have been in if the accident hadn't occurred.
The response and cleanup effort, at its 2010 peak, involved more than 48,000 people and saw more than 110,000 miles of aerial reconnaissance flights conducted across 14,000 miles of shoreline.
Assessment teams then conducted ground-based surveys across nearly 4,400 miles of shoreline, identifying about 1,100 miles that experienced some level of oiling and 778 miles that required some measure of cleaning, BP said.
The Coast Guard also said in a separate statement that the three states are expected to complete the transition back to the National Response Center, or NRC, reporting system by the middle of June.
The primary function of the NRC is to serve as the sole national point of contact for reporting all oil, chemical, radiological, biological and etiological discharges into the environment anywhere in the US and its territories. The reported information is passed to a local Coast Guardsman who investigates the report and takes appropriate action, the Coast Guard said.
Laura Folse, BP's executive vice president for response and environmental restoration, said the company remains committed to addressing and removing any residual Macondo oil potentially appearing on the shoreline.
BP said operational activity has now ended on 4,272 of the 4,376 shoreline miles that were in the area of response. Patrolling and maintenance activities continue on 84 shoreline miles in Louisiana, with another 20 miles in Louisiana pending approval or final monitoring or inspection.
BP also has agreed with state and federal trustees on 28 additional early restoration projects totaling about $594 million.
In all, BP and the trustees have announced 38 projects totaling approximately $665 million, the company said.
Dow Jones Newswires