NEW ORLEANS - Cleanup work has ended in three of the states affected by BP PLC's massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the company said Monday.
The London-based oil giant said the Coast Guard has concluded "active cleanup operations" in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, but the work continues along 84 miles of Louisiana's shoreline.
The cleanup by BP contractors ended last Friday in Alabama, on June 1 in Florida and on May 1 in Mississippi, according to company spokesman Jason Ryan.
The Coast Guard will continue responding to reports of oil washing up anywhere along the Gulf Coast. BP said it will take responsibility for removing any oil that came from its blown-out Macondo well.
"This is another important step towards meeting our goal of returning the shoreline to as close to pre-spill conditions as possible while managing the scale of the response to meet conditions on the ground," Coast Guard Capt. Duke Walker said in a statement.
The director of the National Wildlife Federation's Gulf of Mexico Restoration Campaign said there is still much work to be done including rapid shoreline assessment and cleanup after storms.
"As much as one million barrels of oil from the disaster remains unaccounted for, and tar mats and tar balls from the spill continue to wash up on the coast," said David White. "Regardless of how our shorelines are monitored, BP must be held accountable for the cleanup. We cannot just accept oiled material on our beaches and in our marshes as the 'new normal.'"
BP said it has spent more than $14 billion on response and cleanup activities, with more than 48,000 people involved in those efforts at the height of the spill's aftermath.
"The transition is a significant milestone toward fulfilling our commitment to clean the Gulf shoreline and ensuring that the region's residents and visitors can fully enjoy this majestic environment," Laura Folse, BP's executive vice-president for response and environmental restoration, said in a statement.
BP said teams surveyed nearly 4,000 miles of shoreline after the spill, identifying roughly 1,100 miles affected by oil and 778 miles that needed to be cleaned.
The April 2010 well blowout triggered an explosion that killed 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon rig and spilled millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf.