Tar Balls Continue Washing Ashore in Florida

Oil on beach near Pensacola, FL - June 2010

Back in June, I visited the Gulf Coast to get a first-hand look at the Gulf oil disaster. After spending time viewing impacts in and around Venice, LA, I drove to Pensacola, FL, where oil was forecast to come ashore for the first time. It was a depressing drive — empty beaches along a beautiful stretch of Gulf Coast. The worst part? Even though it was a five hour drive, I hadn’t even gone the full length of the oil slick — it stretched even further west than Venice and even further east than Pensacola.

I took this photo at Florida’s Perdido Bay State Park, just west of Pensacola in Escambia County. Oil had just started to arrive on the beach, mixing with the area’s famous white sand to form brown clumps.

Nearly seven months after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, oil continues to soil Escambia County’s white sand:

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection continues to keep tabs on BP during the cleanup and has been testing soil and sediment for residues of not only oil but of dispersants such as Corexit.

Over the past two weeks, we have been averaging about 20,000 pounds of product in the form of tar balls per day most of which was picked up in Escambia,” said DEP emergency response chief Phil Wieczynski. “BP has committed to continue to clean up oil as long as oil is present and we are doing our best to hold them to it.”

Get the latest Gulf oil disaster news and learn more about the National Wildlife Federation’s response at NWF.org/oilspill.