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Tar Balls Abound but so do Tourists

June 7th, 2010 by flanews

Tar balls are washing ashore along a 100 mile stretch of Floridas Panhandle coastline. Every five miles, from Alabama to Gulf County, spotters are watching the water for oil. As Whitney Ray tells us, once oil is spotted, cleanup crews are dispatched to the site.

The Emerald Coast is still emerald in Destin. Families play in the sand, surfers hang 10. Tourists watch the action before diving in. This group from Kentucky has been watching since April.

Reporter: How many times do you think you called before you can down here?
Tourist: Between all of us we called probably four times.

At lunch time Monday, the waves on this stretch of Destin beach were still washing up sea shells and a little bit of algae. No oil in site. But to the east and west tar balls have been spotted.

Thats where Leamon Keen comes in. Leamon is a lieutenant with the Department of Environmental Protections Mobile Command Center. Spotters from Alabama to Gulf County Florida are watching the water and reporting oil sightings back to the post.

That information goes up to our ESF 14 and they contact Unified Command and thats how the process works and Ive seen clean up crews on Pensacola Beach, response is pretty quick, said Keen.

And thats good news for Sarah Marshall and her two daughters, who plan to stay in Destin through Saturday. So far its been fun in the sun for the Texas Family. They just hope the water stays clean and clear.

The girls have loved it, and we havent seen a thing so we are happy, said Courtney.

The good news Monday, winds shifted once again, a sign the oil may stay at bay a few days longer. The leading edge of the oil slick remains several miles off Pensacola Beach and so far tar balls are the only sign of the spill in Florida. Clean up crews continue to pick up the clumps of oil, and so far no Florida beaches have been closed.

Posted in Oil Drilling, State News, Tourism | 1 Comment »

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