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Gulf oil sheen from last year’s oil spill, Coast Guard says

Sightings of a very large sheen of oil in the Gulf of Mexico have had coastal residents and fishermen worried for over a month. But in a statement issued yesterday, the Coast Guard says the sheen is not from BP’s now-capped Macondo well, which caused harm to both Florida’s environment and economy last year.

Though the Coast Guard said video footage of BP’s Macondo well shows no new leakage, the company hasn’t been ruled out as a source of the sheen. In its statement, the Coast Guard floats the possibility that oil may be emanating from a riser pipe of the Transocean rig, whose explosion led to last year’s disaster. (That rig now sits on the ocean floor.)

As previously reported by The Florida Independent, chemists with Louisiana State University have said that recent samples of the oil bear a striking similarity to the chemical footprint of last year’s oil.

A spokesman for Transocean told the Wall Street Journal that the Coast Guard had notified the company, and that it is “committed” to investigate the reports.

“If a volume of oil has remained in the riser, there is no question that it is oil from BP’s Macondo well,” Transocean spokesman Brian Kennedy told the Journal. “As owner and operator, BP is the responsible party for all fluids that emanated from the Macondo well head, and BP has repeatedly acknowledged that responsibility.”

The explosion of BP’s Transocean rig led to the worst oil spill in U.S. history — killing 11 oil rig workers and releasing massive amounts of oil into the gulf and onto the shores of Florida, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi.

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