The original Deepwater Horizon fire (Pic by Deepwater Horizon Response, via Flickr)

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection today announced it has completed a series of post-hurricane season beach inspections, as part of the response to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The most recent inspections, completed on Jan. 14, were conducted to assure that no additional oil impacts occurred as a result of storms passing through the Gulf of Mexico during the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season.

After consulting with each affected state, the U.S. Coast Guard ordered that more than 300 miles of previously cleaned or never-oiled shoreline be re-inspected. Across the Gulf states, 320 miles of shoreline were selected for post-hurricane season shoreline inspections.

According to the state Department of Environmental Protection, in Florida, 33 personnel inspected approximately 39 miles of shoreline and found that 1.75 miles were still impacted by tarballs. After the tarballs were collected and the shorelines were re-inspected, approximately one quarter of a mile of beach was recommended for continued cleanup, while the remaining 38.75 miles of shoreline met standards upon re-inspection.

“Florida’s response team is committed to ensuring our shorelines and beaches are clean and remain free from oil,” said department Secretary Herschel Vinyard in a press release. “We will continue to work diligently with BP, the Coast Guard, the federal trustees and our fellow Gulf States on these important response efforts.”

The 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon disaster killed 11 workers and sent more than 200 million gallons of oil into the gulf, leading to the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

A recent report issued by The National Academy of Engineering, a government-created nonprofit, concluded that the lack of regulation and ineffective safety management practices that led to BP’s catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico have not been fully remedied — leaving communities in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana potentially vulnerable to another spill.

Despite concerns with regulatory oversight, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced last week that it will begin selling leases to allow offshore oil drilling in 38 million acres in the central Gulf of Mexico.

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