The tar balls that washed up all across the Gulf Coast post Hurricane Lee are confirmed matches for the Louisiana crude that spewed from the ocean floor after the Deepwater Horizon disaster. What's more, a study by Auburn University revealed this week that the the oil has barely degraded over the course of the last year. Instead of cleaning it up, however, some counties are opting to simply bury the evidence. Literally.
Charles Taylor of Bay Saint Louis Beach, Mississippi has been documenting an oil slick which washed up on the beach in the aftermath of Hurricane Lee. A sharp petroleum smell and the presence of an obvious rainbow sheen are clear indicators that the substance on the beach is actually oil.
Have a look: This is Clearly Oil
And here is a wide shot of the same oil slick:
Photograph by Charles Taylor
Cover-Up as Clean-Up
Rather than actually clean the substance from the beach, Hancock County has instead chosen to just cover it over with sand. What's more, the county refuses to admit the substance is actually oil, claiming instead that it's simply an algal bloom.
See the cover-up in action here:
How to Tell the Difference Between an Oil Slick and an Algal Bloom
According to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), "If you see a thin film that is rainbow-colored, you're looking at oil." Other than that, "the most reliable difference is odor. Oil slicks nearly always have a characteristic petroleum smell. Algal blooms may have a strong smell as well, but the smell is distinctly different from that of petroleum."
Why would Hancock County Insist the Oily Substance is Only Algae?
Despite the obvious rainbow sheen visible in Taylor's video, Hancock County insists the oily substance is simply algae. Tayor is not so sure and has collected samples for independent testing. Stay tuned to this blog for the results.
In the meantime, let's all remember who is running the show in Hancock County:
Photograph by Charles TaylorFind out more about the legal thriller, Black Oil, Red Blood here. A portion of the proceeds benefits Gulf People Helping People. Read for fun and help out a good cause.