The U.S. Coast Guard is now reporting that the tar balls collected from several state parks in the Keys don't match the type of oil spewing from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and are not related. The speculation is they are among the results of underwater seeps. tanker leaks and other common reports of oil and petroleum product washing up on Florida beaches.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection found reports that in 2009 there were 681 reports of "oil and petroleum incicents along Florida's waterways and beaches so these types of occurrences are not as unusual as one might think." In 2008, the agency reported 667 incidents and in Monroe County alone there were 72 reported oil-related products found washing up and 52 in 2008.
By Tuesday, tar balls were spotted in Big Pine Key, followed by a report of tar balls on Loggerhead Key in the Dry Tortugas National Park.
"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," said Capt. Pat DeQuattro, commanding officer of the Coast Guard in Key West. "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."