GULF SHORES, Ala. – Finding tar balls linked to the BP oil spill isn’t difficult on some Gulf Coast beaches, but the company and the federal government say it isn’t common enough to keep sending out the crews that patrolled the sand for three years in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi.
Environmental advocates are questioning the Coast Guard decision to quit sending out BP-funded crews that have looked for oil deposits on northern Gulf Coast beaches on a regular basis since the 2010 spill spewed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf after an explosion and fire that killed 11 workers.
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 system, the National Response Center, and conducts cleanup operations as needed.
BP PLC, which has spent $14 billion on cleanup work, is still working with the government and says it will still pay for the removal of any lingering tar from its blown-out Deepwater Horizon well.
Firefighters try to get residents home
With evacuees anxious to return, firefighters worked Sunday to dig up and extinguish hot spots to protect homes spared by the most destructive wildfire in Colorado’s history.
The labor-intensive work is necessary because extremely dry grass and trees could quickly ignite if wind stirs up hot spots in the densely wooded Black Forest near Colorado Springs.
Firefighters did get some help from the weather as steady rain moved through the area Sunday afternoon.
Nearly 500 homes have been burned by the 22-square-mile fire, which is 65 percent contained.
Crews hope to have it fully under control by Thursday.
Plane carrying Bush forced to land
A private jet that had former President George W. Bush on board made an emergency landing after the smell of smoke was reported in the cockpit.
The Federal Aviation Administration on Sunday said the jet was flying Saturday night from Philadelphia to Dallas, where Bush lives, and was diverted to Louisville, Ky. No one was hurt.
FAA spokeswoman Holly Baker said the Gulfstream 4 declared an emergency due to the smell of smoke in the cockpit and landed without incident. She didn’t elaborate.
Suspect in shooting surrenders in Tenn.
A man accused of shooting his girlfriend and her three teenage daughters in a neighborhood near Nashville, Tenn., has surrendered to officials in Memphis, authorities said Sunday.
A Shelby County Sheriff’s Office spokesman told WSMV-TV that Earnest Moore, who also goes by Earnest Woodley, turned himself in about 4:20 a.m. Sunday. Nashville police were expected to travel to Memphis and bring him back.
Police say Moore shot Nicole Luke, 34, and her daughters Friday afternoon in an apartment complex. Police said one of the teens has been released from Vanderbilt University Hospital. The others remain hospitalized.
Church shooting suspect arrested
A 35-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of walking into a Catholic church in Ogden, Utah, and shooting his father-in-law in the back of the head during Mass.
Charles Richard Jennings Jr. was captured Sunday afternoon in nearby Box Elder County after fleeing in a stolen pickup truck, investigators said.
The victim was taken to a hospital, where he was listed in critical condition. His name wasn’t released.