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Massive stretches of oil spotted in Gulf of Mexico

Deepwater Horizon Explosion
Massive stretches of weathered oil have been sighted heading toward the Mississippi Delta three days after the U.S. Coast Guard announced there was "very little recoverable oil still in the water or on the bottom."
Boat captains working the BP clean-up effort said they have been reporting large areas of surface oil off the delta for more than a week but have seen little response from BP or the Coast Guard, which is in charge of the clean-up. The captains said most of their sightings have occurred during stretches of calm weather, similar to what the area has experienced most of this week.

On Friday reports included accounts of strips of the heavily weathered orange oil that became a signature image of the spill during the summer. One captain said some strips were as much as 400 feet wide and a mile long.
Times/Picayune photojournalist, Matt Hinton, who took photos of the weathered oil slick on Saturday, has confirmed the sighting: PHOTO GALLERY.

The oil has been sighted stretching from West Bay in Texas to Tiger Pass near Venice, Louisiana. This is of significant concern to wildlife officials.  Weathered oil can coat and contaminate marshes in ways that other oil would not.

LSU environmental sciences professor Ed Overton says that the reports by the Coast Guard that the oil has not been there and the evidence provided by boat captains and the photojournalists that it is present can both be correct. He explains that this is because the sweet crude can sit on the bottom until the weather is calm and then may rise to the surface. If he's correct, this could be an ongoing problem given the amount of oil that gushed from the broken well throughout the summer.

The Coast Guard has dispatched boats to investigate.