End of BP cleaning crews leaves questions on Gulf

GULF SHORES, Ala. (AP) —
Environmental advocates and others are questioning the decision to quit
using crews to look for tar balls left by the BP oil spill on Gulf Coast
beaches in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi.

The patrols ended
this month as coastal monitoring reverted to the way it operated before
the spill: The Coast Guard investigates beach pollution reported by the
public through a federal response system and conducts cleanup operations
as needed.

BP and the Coast Guard say there aren't enough tar balls to warrant daily cleaning crews.

But
beach visitors are still stepping on tar balls in spots, and
environmentalists say many people can't identify tar balls even if they
see them.

BP is still paying for cleanup work linked to the spill, and regular patrols continue on the Louisiana coast.