Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

Allegations emerge BP is dumping sand to cover oil

Posted in BP, environment, offshore drilling, United States by allisonkilkenny on July 1, 2010

Photojournalist C.S. Muncy at Grand Isle, Lousiana. (Photo by C.S. Muncy)

Yesterday, I contacted a friend of mine, C.S. Muncy, who is a photojournalist currently raising all kinds of hell down in southern Louisiana.

C.S.’s original goal was to gain access to some of the areas being guarded by BP contractors and deemed “off limits” to reporters, but yesterday he, along with Save Our Shores‘s Judson Parker, made an unexpected discovery.

They believe that BP has been dumping sand on the beaches in order to cover up oil. You can view some video Judson shot of the beach over here.

I called C.S. to ask him about the alleged cover-up.

AK: Is it true that BP has been covering some of the oil on the beach with sand?

CM: Yeah. Yeah, this is interesting…We went down onto the beaches, and we started inspecting them. There were tar balls, tar residue, and there was some oil on the beach. Apparently, the day before there was a lot of tar balls, and BP was working in the area pretty heavily, and we started noticing there was a different consistency in the sand.

Closer to shore, there was this grainy, very rough shell-filled sand, and then you could see almost like a border where it just spilled over onto the beach sand, which is a very fine-grained sand. And it looked as if it was dumped. I mean, you could dig a few inches down, and you could see that it was a different type of sand beneath that, you know, without all the shell and grit, and what not. It looked very much like that. Our first assumption was, yeah, that they were dumping sand to cover up the tar balls.

You know, when I first said that…to me, it sounded conspiratorial – more so than I usually think. But then, soon after, we were stopped by some local sheriffs – actually, scratch that, they weren’t local sheriff – they were working for the local sheriff, but these guys were bussed in from… (C.S. asks Judson if he remembers where they were bussed in from) …from Jefferson Parish – from way up north – he was a city guy, and there were two of them that stopped us, and they weren’t unpleasant about it – they weren’t mean – but we could hear them talking on the radio, and their job was to run us off. So they told us, no more pictures – at least no more pictures of them. In fact, they stopped me from going out onto the beach a little bit further, and taking more pictures. But, you know, we got to talking with the guy, one of them, and he said, ‘Yeah, they came here, and just dumped a bunch of sand on the beach.’ They were just shoveling it on.

We could see the erosion and where the tar still was, and there was a total separate point from where the sand was dumped on.

Update: Shannyn Moore has more on the cover-up (along with some photos from C.S.) here.

Update 2: If you would like to support C.S.’s work, you can send him cash through PayPal to OilSpillStory@gmail.com – Click the link here.

Update 3: Karen Dalton Beninato posted a photo taken on Monday of a dump truck at Grand Isle. A commenter has raised the possibility that it is not a dump truck pictured in the photo KDB posted (it may be a truck used to transport heavy items). I wrote her and raised this possibility, and she said she’s contacted BP to verify if it is indeed a dump truck, or not. She could have gotten a closer look, but BP has a “65-foot rule” for all journalists, so the photo had to be taken from afar.

Correction: An earlier version of this article linked to saveourshores.org, which is a separate group in California. Judson Parker is a representative from http://www.sosfla.org.

11 Responses

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  1. Jeremy Winter said, on July 1, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    Wow talking about interesting timing. I was just reading some of the questions that might be presented to BP on Citezentube in about 20 mins and one of the questions caught my eye.

    A woman from Pensacola named Diane asked the question “Why does BP say its not bringing in new sand when I see piles and dump trucks full of yellow sand, onto Penacola beach. Can you just be upfront and TELL us how you are cleaning up Pensacola beach?”

    It would be really interesting to hear BP’s response to this question. Hopefully it comes up during this live session.

  2. 1day said, on July 1, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    This is great. Thanks.

  3. [...] an interview with Allison Kilkenny, Muncy reports, “…we got to talking with the guy, one of them, and he said, ‘Yeah, [...]

  4. chas said, on July 2, 2010 at 9:42 am

    re: your update #3.
    That is NOT a dump truck. It is a truck unloading a large container onto the beach. No one seems to realize that beaches cover and uncover themselves naturally with high tides and storms. Also, beaches west of the Mississippi river will have alternating layers of sand, silt, mud and sludge. I’ve seen many news reporters of late giving their opinions of what they’re seeing on the beaches and in the water, and oftentimes they’re wrong. This is jumping the gun and coming to a hasty conclusion. Covering the beaches with sand would be a mammoth project, and it would need to be repeated each time more oil washed ashore. Unfeasible.

  5. [...] Cross-posted from Allison Kilkenny’s blog [...]

  6. JujuStevens said, on July 2, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    That part of Louisiana is actually in Jefferson Parish, as is Grand Isle.

  7. [...] 0 Yesterday, I contacted a friend of mine, C.S. Muncy, who is a photojournalist currently raising all kinds of hell down in southern Louisiana. C.S.'s original goal was to gain access to some of the areas being guarded by BP contractors and deemed "off limits" to reporters, but yesterday he, alon … Read More [...]

  8. [...] Cross-posted from Allison Kilkenny’s blog swfobject.embedSWF("http://www.youtube.com/v/WaHJf1GLD1E&rel=0&fs=1&showsearch=0&showinfo=0", "vvq-580-youtube-1", "425", "344", "9", vvqexpressinstall, vvqflashvars, vvqparams, vvqattributes); [...]

  9. Sandra K. McDaniel said, on July 3, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    Someone said gas companies have been known to paint grass green when they know an onshore inspection is taking place to make it look like drilling does a good job. They can put blue color in the ocean to make the water look pristine clean and blue but what you don’t know about are the toxic chemicals they used to drill with which escaped into the water and creeps through subsurface formations onto shore into drinking water supplies. If we got rid of toxic chemicals used in gas drilling, the health care industry would go out of business. If anything is off limits you can be sure a coverup is in process….at government levels such as this link:

    http://marcelluseffect.blogspot.com/2010/06/epa-whistleblower-talks-fracking-with.html

  10. [...] BP been dumping sand on the beaches in order to cover up oil? Via Allison Kilkenny: [...]

  11. John said, on July 7, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Question, How many shrimp do they pull in now? Has the food chain broken down and how long could IT take, to correct it’s self.


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