BP’s "deep cleaning" of the beaches where oil and large mats of tar washed up after Hurricane Isaac could mean even more trouble for the state’s fragile coastline.

The company responsible for the largest oil spill in U.S. history is proposing an aggressive method of cleanup for the miles of beaches where oil and tar mats washed up following Hurricane Isaac. And it’s a process that has many people concerned about further damaging the Bayou State’s already fragile and disappearing coastline.

HuffPo reports that the source of the oil, tar mats and dozens of pounds worth of tar balls that came on shore in Louisiana between Grand Isle and Port Fourchon have been confirmed to be from the 2010 BP oil spill that killed 11 people and sent millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf:

Now BP is proposing to aggressively clean up beaches in a process it calls “deep cleaning.” Utsler said deep cleaning could involve cleaning beaches to a depth of up to about 5 feet. [BP’s Mike] Utsler said ecological concerns have forced BP in many places to limit cleanup to beach surfaces. He said beaches in Alabama were cleaned to a depth of 5 feet and saw little oil being exposed there.

But digging deep to remove oil can bring its own problems — it can be harmful to creatures that live on beaches or feed on them and it also may lead to erosion by loosening up sand. Erosion is a constant worry in Louisiana because the state is losing land at an alarming rate.

The Coast Guard said it was reviewing BP’s plans. The cleanup was restricted mostly to the surface of ecologically sensitive beaches, such as those on national wildlife refuges, while many recreational beaches saw more intensive cleanup.
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