The Pensacola News Journal is confirming that, "Thousands of pounds of weathered oil is being pulled from under the surface of Pensacola Bay every day."
BP persistently denied this fact within the last few days, according to the report -- "During more than a dozen interviews last week, BP officials and spokespeople for a number of government agencies working on the Deepwater Horizon Oil spill response denied knowledge of oil in the bay."
When BP was making public denials, "Escambia County officials and local fishermen were reporting finding weathered oil, as they've been doing for weeks."
"BP's own crews were hand-scooping it up, and a submerged-oil team from BP's Deepwater Horizon Response Incident Command Post in Mobile was investigating," added the PNJ.
Coast Guard Lt. Stephen West with the Incident Command Post told the PNJ just this Friday that they, "Confirmed an area of oil a quarter of a mile long and up to 50 to 60 feet off Barrancas Beach at Pensacola Naval Air Station... [and] confirmed that buckets of sunken oil were being pulled up in another area of Pensacola Bay, near Fort Pickens at Gulf Islands National Seashore."
The head of BP's cleanup operation in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, Scott Piggott, "said cleanup workers began noticing the submerged oil at Barrancas Beach in July." The paper also reports Piggott said, "The last month, we've spent considerable effort to get people to concentrate on that... Then we notice the same phenomenon at the Fort Pickens site, and cleanup has been going on there for two weeks."
Piggott added, "1,000 pounds were collected from underwater one day last week near Fort Pickens." according to the PNJ.
The Pensacola News Journal was given two of BP's daily reports to the county about the cleanup by Escambia County. The reports noted:
8/25: BP reported cleaning up 3,776 pounds of weathered oil from water near NAS.
8/26: BP reported collecting 2,207 pounds from water near NAS.
8/25: 3,255 pounds were collected from the Fort Pickens beach.
8/26: 2,123 pounds was collected from the Fort Pickens beach.
Read the full report here.