May 19th, 2010
08:50 AM ET

Coast Guard: Tar balls found in Keys not from BP spill

Tar balls discovered on the Florida Keys shoreline are not connected to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Coast Guard said Wednesday.

Tests done "conclusively show" that the tar balls found on the shoreline do not match the type of oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The source of the tar balls remains unknown at this time.

"The conclusion that these tar balls are not from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill incident in no way diminishes the need to continue to aggressively identify and clean up tar ball-contaminated areas in the Florida Keys," Capt. Pat DeQuattro, commanding officer of the Coast Guard's Key West sector said. "We will continue to operate as a Unified Command and utilize funding through the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund until we have successfully identified any additional tar balls on the shoreline and completed cleanup efforts."

WPBF: Read the latest and view pictures of the tar balls

soundoff (231 Responses)
  1. Caroline

    It's time for media outlets, including CNN to do their job. Demand for the public that independent labs test these tar balls. Demand that the coast gaurd and our government acknowledge the deep water plumes discovered by scientists in the gulf. It's time for you to hold our government accountable for something. Now is your chance.

    May 19, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  2. Jimmy

    OJ's lawer must have got the tar balls off. And I love the line "conclusively show". As if we have much confidence in the science of these people. I know it is possible that these tar balls came from another source such as "naturally seeping oil" so don't start hating. But people wouldn't jump to conclusions if the oil companies werent so sleasy in the first place.

    May 19, 2010 at 11:36 am | Report abuse |
  3. Don'tBeIgnorant

    You know it makes me want to comment on all of these peoples responses because some of them are so dumb. One person said well why aren’t people cleaning up the oil that naturally leaks from the ocean. BECAUSE THE OCEAN ISNT NATURALLY LEAKING MILLIONS OF GALLONS OF OIL continuously!! That's why! Because this is creeping up the list of worst oil spills in history!! It’s already leaked more then the Exxon Valdez spill did and it’s caused parts of the gulf to be closed off for fishing... because it’s ruining people’s lives! And if that oil reaches the Keys (for one it will DESTROY the ecosystem of the keys) and two it’s going to get sucked up in the current that runs along the entire eastern seaboard... destroying every beach and ocean ecosystem in the area. I don’t think people realize that this can actually affect people around the world if it’s not stopped soon! Its going to have an insane effect on the gulf ecosystem already... that gulf won’t return to how it was for a solid 30 years at least. I just can’t believe it’s almost been a month and all they have done to try and stop this leak is put a cap on it. They want to save the oil... BP doesn’t want to shut the well off entirely because that oil reservoir is massive... that’s a huge loss for them. But I really do think that the oil companies should be criminally charged... isn’t that a crime against humanity to let the oil leak out everywhere!!! I think all CEO’s/political figures need to be punished when it turns out that they put personal gain ahead of overall well being of the planet. Right... I mean MILLIONS of gallons of oil are just floating around the gulf.... there saying there are oil plumes underwater now that are MILES wide... like double digit miles wide! Do they have any idea what kind of damage that is going to do the wildlife... even on a strictly economic level... there wiping out the livelihood of half of the residents of the gulf... not to mention tourism. Than what about cleaning all this oil up... how much is that going to cost? And you know what... the American people are the ones who are going to have to pay for it in the end!! I think it’s crazy that the government hasn’t done anything constructive to help stop this or to BP to get it done NOW! It just boggles my mind. Americans needs to stick a hot coal up there a** if you ask me . The government is probably on BP’s payroll. It wouldn’t surprise me either... They are all greedy. There not in it to look at for the welfare of the American people... they want $$$ that’s all! And another thing... I just read about those tar balls washing up yesterday and they can already say for sure that its not from the Deep Horizon... now I understand there are different kinds of oil and that tar balls do naturally occur but I really really speculate the validity of the tests done. BP and the government have so much control over who tests, what information gets released blah blah blah. I think it’s a strong possibility those tar balls are from the oil rig... it’s just a big coincidence... at a very unlikely time... and a very fast result and answer for me to actually believe it.

    May 19, 2010 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. globsotar

    CNN ought to be ashamed of itself. They're trying to keep this story off their main page. I've been reading to get the latest news on this oil disaster.

    May 19, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. michael nyc

    Hello Lisa Marie,

    How are you ?

    Can any thing be done ?

    now that the coast guard is protecting BP from media and any reasonable fix what can we do or have done ?

    besides ireport i now leave messages on St Petersburg times & Huffington Post

    There are POSSIBLE STOP LEAKS that are never aired in the the media that could have been done from "DAY ONE" –

    but who would be allowed to implement them ?

    This my latest post:

    Possible stop leaks

    – drill deep (about 1000ft) new adjacent shaft a few feet away from old shaft – place explosive charge at bottom and fill/cover/seal with cement – explode charge to collapse wall and fill with rock, earth etc.


    insert a pipe/hose containing a shut off valve into the existing hole that would have a flange that expands inside and does not have back pressure to oil escaping – then shut off valve ...


    discharge "liquid nitrogen" into leaking pipe thru a small hose from surface inserted as far in as possible

    thank you

    Michael Gruters – former faculty physics Princeton late 60' – cell 917 885 4471

    p.s. the use of dispersing chemicals make surface removal impossible and poisons the sea – really stupid....

    p.p.s. dome(s) were not necessary and wasted time – employ a flotilla of existing tankers/barges starting at epicenter of shaft leak to recover (pump skim off surface oil) – use skimmer hoses that submerge and as water/oil mix is pumped into tanker/barge it is replaced by same – as the tanker hold fills separated water from the bottom is pumped back.

    p.p.p.s. current plan to bring oil to suface by inserting a smaller pipe does not seal the leak and is only temporary fix

    May 19, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ted

    The same group of people whose best response so far has been to throw rubber tires and golf balls at the leak want us to think they're sophisticated enough to determine that this oil isn't from the BP incident? Come on!!!

    May 19, 2010 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Lisa4588

    Really? Then where DID they come from? How stupid do they think we are? So I guess if the lawsuits against BP, Cheney, and the US government from Florida will be thrown out of court?

    May 19, 2010 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Steve

    “Highly Intelligent Coast Guard Scientist [scratches head]:

    Thanks for the tar ball sample, now let's examine it to see where it came from. Hmmm, it is composed of basically 57 chromatographic peaks of various hydrocarbons in a jell-like matrix. This means it is in fact, a tar ball. The fingerprints the terrorists who planted this in Key West don't seem to be available for identification. Also, the serial number that all major oil companies put on their tar balls appears to have washed off. Nope, this must not be from the underwater oil volcano.....because I was listening to my daily ditto-head dose from Rush and he says it came from a boater. Maybe one of them illegal cuban immigrant boat people!

    You get what you pay for except in our current govt, where the oil companies have already bought the goods......”

    May 19, 2010 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Craig N. Barthelmas

    Subject: PRO-ACTIVE OIL SPILL CONTINGENCY PLAN, Dated: 10 May, 2010

    TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: Here’s a contingency plan that has patented technology and a process that really works.

    1. We found a pre-processed material and developed an action plan that would have extracted up to 95% of the oil spill contaminants from seeded surface waters of the Gulf of Mexico, before it hit land fall.
    2. Our product is a, “Modified Oil Spill Environmental Sponge” dubbed M.O.S.E.S., it is a ¼” to ½” product that can be used to absorb oil contaminants from both “fresh water and salt water” surface oil spills. Our tests have concluded that one ton of product will absorb 125 gallons of oil in less than one hour. Simply put it will absorb approximately one half of its weight in oil. M.O.S.E.S. collects/absorbs oil not water. After saturation M.O.S.E.S. will only contain about 1.4% water. It creates no added impact on marine life or the environment. It also poses no threat to other kinds of wildlife including humans. A fifteen minute test will prove this process works.
    3. Our plan is full circle and includes staging, seeding, re-claiming and re-processing all of the contaminated oil’s and seed materials back into re-usable fuels and commodities.
    4. Due to the urgencies to reduce the impact on the environment and the magnitude of this spill, our plan required partnering with the Coast Guard and other organizations that were already being used to provide staging, seeding and reclaim operations.
    5. Seeding operations were to be handled in essentially the same way they were being done, with minor and/or no modifications to airborne or aquatic equipment that would handle spreading ¼” to ½” particulates.
    6. Re-claim operations required the same booms, scoops, pumps and barge operations, that were being used.
    7. Re-processing operations proposed a permanent emissions free plant for processing oil, sand and other like materials into re-usable fuels and commodities. The plant would take approximately ninety to one hundred and fifty days to construct and would become a permanent part of a states fast action response to future oil spills.
    8. Our plan would have first, assisted with the on-going damage control operations in the gulf; second, it could have been put into operation within seven days; third, it would have become a $30,000,000.00 per year financial benefit to the communities that embraced staging and plant processing operations.
    9. This plan will greatly reduced the time and costs associated with this kind of oil spill in the future. We are confident that this type of pro-active plan would become a template for other high risk (oceanic) areas.
    So, why was this plan given no consideration at all? It is not a question of if another spill will happen, but when! The only excuses we have been able to come up with that, we are sure you are going to here are, as follows:
    a. BP, News Networks and Government Agencies didn’t have the time to consider a pro-active long term plan?
    b. We were crack pots when, this technology is patented and the product could be tested in fifteen minutes?
    c. BP has it under control as, they have done this before? Yes and, crazy is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results! We need to get past these smoke screens and prepare for future spills.
    Thank you for your time and consideration. We’d love to receive some constructive input from anyone who is listening.
    Craig N. Barthelmas, Verizon Cell: [313] 682-1428, E-Mail:
    CC: BP., CNN, FOX NEWS, NOAA, Governors of: AL., FL., LA., MS., And TX.

    May 20, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Craig N. Barthelmas

    ATTENTION!! The PRO-ACTIVE OIL SPILL CONTINGENCY PLAN listed above will not plug oil leaks but, it will address five major problems; two of witch, are concerns that have not been addressed in the media or in the government.
    1. It truly is a LONG TERM-CONTINGENCY PLAN. It will help the community rebuild revenues while providing a fast action operational plan for future oil spills. Yes! Future oil spills will surely occur, despite future prevention efforts!
    2. This plan is full circle and would included staging, seeding, re-claiming and re-processing all of the contaminated oil’s, oil filled sands and seed materials back into re-usable fuels and commodities.
    3. It creates no added impact on marine life or the environment. It also poses no threat to humans and/or other forms of wildlife. Oil, feed stock and sand processing are near emissions free processes.
    4. It will generate $30,000,000.00 worth of new revenues for the communities that embrace staging and plant processing operations. The plant would remain in full operation after the clean-up is done.
    5. It will also add about forty new jobs to the community. This is not only a plan to help with short term clean up’s, it will also have a positive long term and lasting effect on the community as well.
    We all know that BP has been feeding us misinformation and then trying to mobilize volunteers to help minimize their cost. Yes! We sent BP and other agencies this plan. Operations of this nature have a price tag associated with them and so, it would appear that they have no wish to spend anything on spills they can’t control or that won’t go back into their pockets. The OMRS-100 technology is patented and, M.O.S.E.S. (The oil absorbent) can be tested in less than fifteen minutes!
    As always our government is seeking a short term quickie (political talk) so we can get a long term scr**ing! Has anyone mentioned where they (BP) plan to put and/or dispose of all of that contaminated; oil, sand and material? We are pretty sure that without intervention it will be in somebody’s back yard, neatly hidden from sight, killing something else. Don’t you think that any oil spill plan should at least consider: Prevention, Mobilization, Extraction and Disposal Operations?
    Thank you for your time. We would love to receive some constructive input from anyone who is as concerned as we are.
    Craig N. Barthelmas, Verizon Cell: [313] 682-1428, E-Mail:

    May 20, 2010 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ryan D

    The sad thing about all this outrage at BP, and the bickering over wheter or not oil/tar ends up in the ocean/on the beaches by natural means as well as rig leaks, ships, etc, is that it ignores any personal responsibility. Granted, it isn't likely that any of the complaining people on this thread have personally caused an oil spill – but it is likely that you have added to the unreal demand for oil. Does everyone who is complaining have a hybrid or an electric car, or take mass transit? No, I'm sure a good portion of you drive to work alone – no carpool, in your plain old gas fueled car. Too many in SUV's, for the look rather than any specific need, usually (not always, I'm sure.) How many times have you driven to the corner store, or to your friends home that was in walking distance? BP, and the companies like them, are supplying what YOU ask for, even demand. Granted, it seems there has been greed and corruption making it worse than it would have been – but if there wasn't the great demand, the problem wouldn't exist.

    Support non-oil fuel sources when they come out. Yes, they're more expensive up front – but if no one buys them, they stop being produced for lack of demand. We just need to hit the tipping point where enough people are willing to support their ideals with their money, and support the technologies they claim to want by actually buying them. For every 100 people I know that will extoll the virtues of solar power – maybe 1 has panels installed on their home.

    I guess what I want to say can be summed up much more clearly: Stop complaining about the need for change, and cause the change. Your purchases determine what is produced. If you keep buying gas powered car because they are cheaper – electric or hybrid cars won't come down in price because the demand isn't there.

    Hmm. This ame off way more lecture-y than I wanted it to, but I hope I got my point across. Take from it what you want, and leave the rest. 🙂

    June 7, 2010 at 2:55 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8