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Ships Suspected Of Bringing BP Oil To Texas

Tar Balls On The Beach
USGS
Tar Balls On The Beach

By Shelley Kofler, KERA News

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kera/local-kera-911411.mp3

Dallas, TX – Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson says his office is receiving a surge of "ball calls"- after tar balls created by the BP spill made it to Texas beaches. Patterson says we may know today how they got here. KERA's Shelley Kofler says officials believe the tar balls hitched a ride.

Chemical analysis has confirmed some seven gallons of tar balls found on Texas beaches came from the BP spill. They were discovered over the Fourth of July holiday on Galveston Island and Bolivar Peninsula and are the first known BP oil deposits to reach this state.

But Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson says the Texas tar balls were gooey and "lightly weathered", an indication they probably didn't drift with the current.

Patterson says suspicion now rests with barges and ships transporting recovered BP oil for processing.

Patterson: There's a waste oil processing company on Pelican Island which is adjacent to Galveston. They have been processing and recovering waste oil that is been transported from the collection area off the Mississippi Delta near the Deepwater Horizon. So there is the possibility that during transport there was a leak. There could have been an accidental spill.

Commissioner Patterson says the Coast Guard is examining five vessels to determine whether they transported the BP oil to Texas. Patterson says the tar balls do not indicate an emerging cleanup problem here. He urged vacationers on the coast to go to the beach.

Email Shelley Kofler