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Released July 19, 2004


BILOXI -- Employees of a major oil and gas company scoured Deer Island beaches Saturday with the help of The University of Southern Mississippi's Gulf Coast Research Laboratory.

More than 30 members of the operations team from the BP Marlin offshore platform, along with their families, boarded GCRL boats to spend the morning bagging trash washed up on the island. GCRL personnel transported the bagged plastic, aluminum and other litter back to the mainland for disposal.

The final tally was 50 industrial-sized bags of trash collected.

Sammy McDaniel, operations manager for BP Marlin, said the cleanup is the fourth in the past two years that the operations team has conducted on northern Gulf of Mexico beaches. Employees from Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas participated in the island beach cleanup, along with their family members.

"A couple of years ago we decided that we wanted to do something worthwhile to give back to the community," said McDaniel. He said the record so far for the group is 200 bags of trash cleaned off a Texas beach.

On behalf of the company, McDaniel presented a $1,400 donation in support of the GCRL. The Ocean Springs laboratory is a public, nonprofit research facility dedicated to working toward a future of sustainable marine and coastal resources through scientific discovery, development of new technology, and education of future scientists and citizens.

"We always welcome the opportunity to partner with regional business leaders for the improvement of the Gulf Coast," said Dr. Jay Grimes, director of the GCRL and provost for Southern Miss Gulf Coast.

"One of our core values in the company is 'no damage to the environment,'" McDaniels said. "We have tons of safeguards in place offshore to prevent negative impacts, but the cleanup is personal. The cleanup is a family-type event."

The GCRL is part of the university's College of Science and Technology.


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July 23, 2004 11:25 AM