Oil previously buried along Gulf Coast beaches was revealed by waves from Hurricane Isaac. It was crude oil that wasn’t cleaned up after the BP spill in 2010. As the water receded tar balls and oil were reported in Alabama and Louisiana and closed a thirteen mile stretch of beach in Louisiana.
BP still has hundreds of cleanup workers on the Gulf Coast. The company said it was working with the Coast Guard, state officials and land managers to clean up the oil on the affected beaches. Louisiana officials restricted fishing in waters extending one mile offshore of the affected beaches. In Alabama, officials said the tar was more of an unsightly nuisance than a health hazard.
Ed Overton, a chemist and oil spill expert at Louisiana State University, said the exposed oil was weathered and less toxic, though it could still harm animals such as crabs, crawfish and bait fish. He said the storm helped speed up natural processes that break down oil and it might take several more storms to stir up the rest of the oil buried along the coast.