How many government agencies does it take to clean up tar balls on the beach?



(The Center Square) – How many government agencies does it take to clean up tar balls on the beach? At least 15 agencies from 3 states, plus two native tribes, sundry non-profits and a few companies.

In an effort known as “Unified Command,” the governmental and non-governmental organizations came together for the beach clean-up effort on the southern Washington and Oregon coasts.

“The coordinated efforts of multiple agencies and organizations have been instrumental in addressing this environmental issue swiftly and effectively,” Coast Guard Commander Bonnie Stewart of the Unified Command said in a statement. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality did not provide a cost estimate for the effort.

The team capitalized on low tides to resurvey and clean areas after the stormy weather. All oiled beaches have been cleaned up.

“A small amount of oily material may still be present in some areas,” a release said. “If you encounter any tar balls, please avoid touching or handling them. Professional responders, trained and equipped to handle this type of material, should be left to manage the clean-up. To report tar balls on the beach or oil in the water, please call the National Response Center (NRC) at 1-800-424-8802.”

The state also wants people to report sightings of oiled birds or other wildlife to 1-800-22-BIRDS (1-800-222-4737).

The source of this oil remains unclear, but it appears to be from a petroleum-based product with compounds consistent with oil products, the release said.

During the operation, Unified Command collected nearly one ton of oily debris across Oregon and Washington. It surveyed over 300 miles and cleaned about 36 miles of coastline in Oregon and Washington.

In total, the operation had 113 people responding. Here are the organizations it included:

U.S. Coast GuardSector Columbia RiverPacific Strike TeamNational Pollution Fund CenterNational Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Office of Response and RestorationU.S. Fish and Wildlife ServiceOregon Department of Environmental QualityOregon Department of Fish and WildlifeOregon Department of Emergency ManagementOregon Parks and Recreation DepartmentOregon Department of Human ServicesOregon Department of ForestryOregon Department of TransportationWashington Department of EcologyWashington Department of Fish and WildlifeWashington State Parks and Recreation CommissionPacific County Emergency Management AgencyCalifornia Department of Fish and WildlifeTolowa Dee Ni NationShoalwater Bay TribeTerminusFocus WildlifeNWFF EnvironmentalRepublic ServicesBallard Marine Construction

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