Tag Archive: escambia

I apologize for the break in updates on the oil spill as we have been preparing for the oil to hit our shorelines.

As of yesterday, June 4th- I am sad to announce that tar bars and some tar mats have came on shore in Escambia County and have traveled as far East to Navarre Beach, FL.

In the upcoming days, I will be collaborating all of my accumulated data and working on putting forth an overview of the last few days. Please stay tuned to this blog for more information.

Thank you for caring during this time of tragedy.


Five “tar balls”, each about a half-inch in diameter, were found over a 3.5 mile stretch of shoreline off of Perdido Key in Escambia County.  The state reported these tar balls as a very minor incident and could not confirm that they were related to the oil spill.

However, according to Visit Florida as of Saturday, 05.15.2010 at 11:30 am CDT, there have been “no reported tar balls” on the beaches of Florida.

How can this be?

As a native Floridian, I have ran across naturally occurring tar balls that have washed up on our shore from time to time resulting from the minute amounts of oil/gas that being released from the sea floor which hardens over time.

Additionally, many “untrained eyes” can mistakenly see tar balls when in actuality, they are seeing something completely unrelated.

Case in point, when I went down to Okaloosa Island (in NW Fla) for a beach vigil a week ago. “Locals” were walking down the beach when suddenly somebody pointed out, “Oh no! There’s a tar ball!”. They stood over it and gawked in horror.

As they walked away, I walked over to the “tar ball” and picked it up, I flipped it over to examine it more in depth– only to find out that it was merely a broken off piece of concrete. You can see the “tar ball” for yourself in the pictures below. For redundancy’s sake, this is NOT a tar ball.

Front Back

Further, the Coast Guard, BP and MMS at 2:00pm CDT yesterday to state that all reports of tar balls east of the Mississippi River are actually clumps of *algae* (right) that has been mistaken to be tar patches.

However, it is important to note that the reports of the testing of the “tar balls” in Escambia County have not been released as of yet– so it is possible but with my analysis of the currents and wind patterns of the past few weeks, I am garnishing my bets on that tar balls in Escambia County are not “probable” at least not at this point.

Below is a picture of tar balls that have been collected from the Timor Sea spill off the coast of Australia last year.

Tar balls are fragments or lumps of oil weathered to a semi-solid or solid consistency, feel sticky, and are difficult to remove from contaminated surfaces.

If you observe any evidence of oil on Florida’s coastline, report the incident to me and Ill get to the bottom of it, one way or the other and report back.

Please keep in mind that many things can look like tar balls so PLEASE be 110% confident that what you are witnessing is in fact a tar ball before calling it such. Florida’s tourism industry is already being affected enough as it is.

For what it’s worth, my Perdido Key friends are reporting that the waters are beautiful and are cleaner than ever thanks to all the pre-landfall clean up effort! Additionally,  there are no reported oil sheen off of Florida’s coastline and no additional “tar balls” have been found.

The weather at Perdido Key, FL is reported at 84.5 degree Fahrenheit with slight cloud coverage. The only thing that looks to be harming  Florida’s coastline is a chance of showers tomorrow.   Enjoy the  beautiful weather, white sandy beaches and breathtaking emerald coastline of NW Florida. I know I am!

Copyright © 2010 ClearWater Perspective.  All rights reserved.

Last Thurs, I was on a teleconference between the Department of the Interior, Coastguard, NOAA, EPA, BP and Transocean.  I put in for a question and I was selected first.

I felt BP should explain their reasoning behind that as OUR residents should be benefiting from those new jobs, not somebody else’s bank account out of state.  I asked Mary Cocklan- Vendl- (BP shoreline and response and BP Richard Sanener- BP shoreline technical advisor from the UK the logic behind this decision; specifically Santa Rosa County,  for the jobs that were being created were being outsourced to 3rd parties and NOT being given to our residents like initially promised. Much like the clean up after Hurricane Katrina.

A silence filled the room and then Mary replied, “We are employing SCAT (Shoreline Cleanup and Assessment Techniques) employees to clean up the beach line. I then asked, when is the training going to be offered for the residents who are wanting to help with the clean up recovery. She said, “It is not. The SCAT group will ensure consistency, plans and managing boards for consistent data management.”   In response, I asked about the 4 hr hazmat training classes that were offered and why would residents be directed to that class, if that class was not even applicable to the oil cleaning and wildlife process.

Again, another silence filled the room. She then said, “I am not qualified to answer that question- the best way to find out information is to go to our ENVIRONMENTAL hotline at 1-866-448-5816.

I objected,  “That is the call center for your hotline and they only record information- They cannot offer clarification. They will not be able to help me which is why I posed *you* the question. Then a male voice spoke up and said, “or you can call 866-366-5511.

Then my call was disconnected. 0.0

I called the # ending in 5511 and it rang until a voice mail picked up saying I reached “American Office Products”. I left a msg and then another msg yesterday asking for a returned call. I still have yet to receive one.

In the meantime, I contacted the general call line again and raised holy cane saying that the BP official gave me this number and I want to talk to somebody who knows something. It took 28 min (literally) of convincing that I was who I said I was and that my intentions were pure. (I told them I wanted to help BP look better in the eyes of the media).  Then I was connected to a supervisor.

Karen (who was “not allowed” to give me her last name) answered and I asked her why are our local jobs, that were promised to us by BP, being given to a 3rd party? Also, what is going to happen to all of the volunteers in NW Fla who took the 4 hr hazmat training to help the oiled wildlife and that Santa Rosa County is in the works of offering hazmat training to assist.  Why would this training be given, if it is not applicable to the oil spill? Further, will people be allowed on the beaches with their hazmat certificate?

After much hemming & hawing, she replied that only SCAT officials will be allowed for clean up and wildlife assistance. That HAZMAT training was not specific enough. That they are drawing from the hazmat training class and supposedly tapping for higher interest within that knowledge pool.   (Side note:: I dont think this is happening. I think BP is trying to cover up the damage of the oil spill so they are contracting people to come out and report what “needs” to be reported.)

Obviously, I was not thrilled with that answer. So I kept pushing until she broke and she gave me the direct number for BP and told me to call to get through to the reception area and then asked for the aforementioned people by name. I left a msg and another follow up msg for both parties and will continue calling around that facility on Monday until I get another directory path.

Also, another problem surrounding that is the toll free number given by BP for an “oiled animal rescueline” that I am trying to get answers too is WHY are checking messages on an hourly basis? Time is of the essence when a bird is covered in oil and developing hypothermia because the body cannot retain the heat.  This appears rather heartless to me and I feel that messages needed to be checked more frequently.

The State of Florida is now taking control of the recovery wheel and pushing for more cleanup money. As the initial amount of $25 Million will not even be CLOSE to the amount of money that our counties will need to effectively rid the oil from our shorelines. Congressman Jeff Miller has put in a request for $1 Billion dollars to assist our State and is awaiting approval.  If our State is only given $25 million, we will risk a County bankruptcy for the recovery process will cost much more than that.  Escambia county just spent $1.2 billion dollars to buy booms to cover their shorelines, so this is a reasonable. How ironic since Unified Command stated that they would honor all “reasonable requests” yet denied our request for booms.

However, the question still remains, “How can we best assess Florida’s future damage that is caused to our small coastline businesses, the fishing and the tourism industry?” Hopefully by relying on the past year trends of condos, hotel, local tourist attraction revenue and calculating inflation into the equation, Florida can determine the answer on how to best help the struggling bystanders of this man made, careless oil spill in our beautiful Gulf of Mexico.

Copyright © 2010 ClearWater Perspective.  All rights reserved.