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PHOTOS: Oil on the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Isaac shows the risks of offshore oil drilling

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September 5, 2012

Oil is visible September 4, 2012 after being washed up by Hurricane Isaac on West Ship Island, Mississippi, part of the Gulf Islands National Seashore. This area was heavily oiled during the British Petroleum Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, and officials are concerned that up to one million barrels of oil are estimated to remain in the Gulf of Mexico. Photo by Joe Smyth

©Joe Smyth/Greenpeace

Oil washed up by Hurricane Isaac on West Ship Island, Mississippi, September 4, 2012

Oil is washing up along the Gulf Coast in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, churned up by Hurricane Isaac. After discoveringhundreds of tar balls at Bon Secour National Wildlife Refugein Alabama, a Greenpeace research team joined our allies at theGulf Restoration Networkto investigate the impacts on East and West Ship Island, off the coast of Mississippi. We found tar balls on East Ship Island and several heavily oiled areas on West Ship Island, which are both part of the Gulf National Seashore.

Oil and reeds washed up by Hurricane Isaac on West Ship Island, Mississippi, September 4, 2012

Meanwhile, the New Orleans Times-Picayunereportsthat Louisiana is “closing a 12-mile section of Gulf coastline from Caminada Pass to Pass Fourchon after Hurricane Isaac washed up large areas of oil and tar balls at the location of one of theworst inundations of BP oilduring the Deepwater Horizon disaster of 2010…agency crews surveying damage from Isaac discovered large sections of viscous oil and tar balls floating along the coast.”

Greenpeace researcher Jesse Coleman takes samples of oil washed up by Hurricane Isaac on West Ship Island, Mississippi, September 4, 2012

Greenpeacedocumented oil on East Ship Islandin October 2010, months after the BP oil disaster. Returning two years later to find so much oil pollution is a sad reminder that it’s impossible to clean up a major marine oil spill.Officials are concernedthat up to one million barrels of oil are estimated to remain in the Gulf of Mexico, and arecalling on EPA and NOAAto explain how they will address oil pollution remaining from the 2010 spill.

Oil washed up by Hurricane Isaac contaminates water on West Ship Island, Mississippi, September 4, 2012

It’s clear that the impacts will be felt for years on the Gulf Coast, and the risk of such a disaster exists wherever our coasts are open to offshore oil drilling.

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