Oil Stains Beaches And Tourists As Slick Spreads – NPR

Posted by Henry Taksier, June 5, 2010

Photo by Gerald Herbert/ AP

“Beachgoers gawked at tar balls, discolored seashells and orange foam that washed up on the Gulf Coast’s once-pristine white sand shores Saturday, the crude from a busted oil well deep underwater appearing in greater quantities and farther east.

A cap over the gusher was believed to be collecting anywhere from about a quarter to half of the leaking oil, even as the slick stained beaches with a waxy mess that nonetheless appeared to deter few tourists — and attracted the curious.

An aerial tour of the Alabama coast revealed long red tendrils extending into the green water off Gulf Shores, Ala., where oil from beachgoers’ feet spotted boardwalks and some condominiums provided solvents for guests smeared with the brown goo. A reddish streak miles long marked the surf line in front of high-rise condominiums.

“I feel like I’ve gone from owning a piece of paradise to owning a toxic waste dump,” said Erin Tamber, who resettled in the Pensacola area after surviving Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

Six weeks after an April 20 oil rig explosion killed 11 workers, oil giant BP PLC has failed to significantly stem the worst spill in U.S. history. The government’s point man for the crisis, Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, said at a news briefing Saturday that the cap collected about 252,000 gallons of oil Friday, its first full day of use.

That amount is about a half-percent to 1 percent of the total oil that, according to government estimates, has already leaked from the sea floor.”

via Oil Stains Beaches And Tourists As Slick Spreads – NPR