June 4th, 2010
03:19 PM ET

Oil confirmed on Pensacola beaches

Tar sits on the beach in Gulf Breeze, Florida, on Friday.

For days, CNN's small army of reporters, photographers and producers has been repositioning toward Florida as oil was expected to come ashore in the Sunshine State.

And on Friday morning, tar balls - hundreds of small bits of hardened oil - littered Pensacola's white beaches. Our iReporters had been saying they had spotted tar balls nearby and in different areas a few days earlier. So we set out to check the beaches.

Tourists were the first to begin cleaning it up. iReporter Marc Sigler said he had been camping in Fort Pickens on Tuesday when he saw tar balls; they spent the next day swimming, picking it up and cleaning the beach. iReport: See Sigler's photos

Further south on the beach on Friday, we saw blobs the size of a Frisbee of reddish-brown oil.

Nobody knew for sure whether the tar was from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Local officials said that so much tar had been piling up that they didn't have the resources to test all the balls and blobs of oil locally, so they would be assuming that if they came in such large amounts now, they were probably from the disaster in the Gulf. Similar tar balls and oil slicks have shown up on beaches along the Gulf since the rig exploded and sank.

iReport: Help us track the oil disaster

Friday afternoon, reporters and residents got the answer they were waiting for: Florida's Division of Emergency Management issued a statement saying, "tar patties and tar balls have been confirmed in widely scattered areas east of Pensacola."

Reconnaissance flights are taking place to determine all of the locations nearby that may be affected. While that goes on, some tourists will keep on cleaning - and worrying.

Tourist Catherine Maloney looked at the blobs of oil with surprise and disgust before taking pictures of them.

"This is going to affect this area for years," she said. "It's already so quiet, it feels like a hurricane came."

soundoff (335 Responses)
  1. Mark

    Is there work for $ to clean up?

    June 7, 2010 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
  2. Vinny

    Unfortunately I believe the only way we are getting this well to stop leaking is to "drill baby drill"
    The relief well being drilled should somehow be sped up if it is not already working at full capacity.

    June 7, 2010 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  3. skl

    Instead of bashing everything everyone else is doing wrong, why can't this be a place to give people information on how THEY CAN help? There are plenty of people (including myself) who have trips scheduled to gulf beaches and instead of cancelling these trips, impacting tourism and getting nothing done, they'd likely be glad to have information on how they can get involved in helping clean up. This is a horrible and unfortunate dissaster but sitting here criticizing everyone else while you're doing nothing isn't going to help with the mess.

    June 7, 2010 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  4. Craig N. Barthelmas

    Subject: PRO-ACTIVE OIL SPILL CONTINGENCY PLAN, Dated: 10 May, 2010

    TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN: Here’s a contingency plan that has patented technology and a process that really works.

    1. We found a pre-processed material and developed an action plan that would have extracted up to 95% of the oil spill contaminants from seeded surface waters of the Gulf of Mexico, before it hit land fall.
    2. Our product is a, “Modified Oil Spill Environmental Sponge” dubbed M.O.S.E.S., it is a ¼” to ½” product that can be used to absorb oil contaminants from both “fresh water and salt water” surface oil spills. Our tests have concluded that one ton of product will absorb 125 gallons of oil in less than one hour. Simply put it will absorb approximately one half of its weight in oil. M.O.S.E.S. collects/absorbs oil not water. After saturation M.O.S.E.S. will only contain about 1.4% water. It creates no added impact on marine life or the environment. It also poses no threat to other kinds of wildlife including humans. A fifteen minute test will prove this process works.
    3. Our plan is full circle and includes staging, seeding, re-claiming and re-processing all of the contaminated oil’s and seed materials back into re-usable fuels and commodities.
    4. Due to the urgencies to reduce the impact on the environment and the magnitude of this spill, our plan required partnering with the Coast Guard and other organizations that were already being used to provide staging, seeding and reclaim operations.
    5. Seeding operations were to be handled in essentially the same way they were being done, with minor and/or no modifications to airborne or aquatic equipment that would handle spreading ¼” to ½” particulates.
    6. Re-claim operations required the same booms, scoops, pumps and barge operations, that were being used.
    7. Re-processing operations proposed a permanent emissions free plant for processing oil, sand and other like materials into re-usable fuels and commodities. The plant would take approximately ninety to one hundred and fifty days to construct and would become a permanent part of a states fast action response to future oil spills.
    8. Our plan would have first, assisted with the on-going damage control operations in the gulf; second, it could have been put into operation within seven days; third, it would have become a $30,000,000.00 per year financial benefit to the communities that embraced staging and plant processing operations.
    9. This plan will greatly reduced the time and costs associated with this kind of oil spill in the future. We are confident that this type of pro-active plan would become a template for other high risk (oceanic) areas.
    So, why was this plan given no consideration at all? It is not a question of if another spill will happen, but when! The only excuses we have been able to come up with that, we are sure you are going to here are, as follows:
    a. BP, News Networks and Government Agencies didn’t have the time to consider a pro-active long term plan?
    b. We were crack pots when, this technology is patented and the product could be tested in fifteen minutes?
    c. BP has it under control as, they have done this before? Yes and, crazy is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results! We need to get past these smoke screens and prepare for future spills.
    Thank you for your time and consideration. We’d love to receive some constructive input from anyone who is listening.
    Craig N. Barthelmas, Verizon Cell: [313] 682-1428, E-Mail: GE1RE22@aol.com
    CC: BP., CNN, FOX NEWS, NOAA, Governors of: AL., FL., LA., MS., And TX.

    June 7, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Craig N. Barthelmas

      ATTENTION!! The PRO-ACTIVE OIL SPILL CONTINGENCY PLAN listed above will not plug oil leaks but, it will address five major problems; two of witch, are concerns that have not been addressed in the media or in the government.
      1. It truly is a LONG TERM-CONTINGENCY PLAN. It will help the community rebuild revenues while providing a fast action operational plan for future oil spills. Yes! Future oil spills will surely occur, despite future prevention efforts!
      2. This plan is full circle and would included staging, seeding, re-claiming and re-processing all of the contaminated oil’s, oil filled sands and seed materials back into re-usable fuels and commodities.
      3. It creates no added impact on marine life or the environment. It also poses no threat to humans and/or other forms of wildlife. Oil, feed stock and sand processing are near emissions free processes.
      4. It will generate $30,000,000.00 worth of new revenues for the communities that embrace staging and plant processing operations. The plant would remain in full operation after the clean-up is done.
      5. It will also add about forty new jobs to the community. This is not only a plan to help with short term clean up’s, it will also have a positive long term and lasting effect on the community as well.
      We all know that BP has been feeding us misinformation and then trying to mobilize volunteers to help minimize their cost. Yes! We sent BP and other agencies this plan. Operations of this nature have a price tag associated with them and so, it would appear that they have no wish to spend anything on spills they can’t control or that won’t go back into their pockets. The OMRS-100 technology is patented and, M.O.S.E.S. (The oil absorbent) can be tested in less than fifteen minutes!
      As always our government is seeking a short term quickie (political talk) so we can get a long term scr**ing! Has anyone mentioned where they (BP) plan to put and/or dispose of all of that contaminated; oil, sand and material? We are pretty sure that without intervention it will be in somebody’s back yard, neatly hidden from sight, killing something else. Don’t you think that any oil spill plan should at least consider: Prevention, Mobilization, Extraction and Disposal Operations?
      Thank you for your time. We would love to receive some constructive input from anyone who is as concerned as we are.
      Craig N. Barthelmas, Verizon Cell: [313] 682-1428, E-Mail: GE1RE22@aol.com

      June 7, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Steve M

    How to help? You can vote Consumer or Independent Party.

    June 7, 2010 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. josh

    http://www.didbpfixthatleakyet.com

    June 9, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  7. (required)

    see last nights daily show. it looks like %*$*%!

    June 4, 2010 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sam

    You are an inconsiderate GOON... How dare you mock this aweful situation. I am here in Destin, and it is going to devastate us and our economy.. C'mon down, and i'll throw some of that chocolate on YOU... JERK

    June 4, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Todd

    What a dimwit.

    June 4, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. (required)

    he's been there 3 times already. what's your point?

    June 4, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JJM

    I'd be happy if my President came to Pensacola! What's your problem? How about we all come together & try to weather this storm just like we do when there's a hurricane coming!

    June 4, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. sarah

    yeah, so he can yell at more local government officials about ruining his image.

    June 4, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Angelique

    And if he didn't go, you'd be complaining that he isn't caring enough. Just admit, regardless of what he does, you will whine.

    June 4, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  14. keondras

    lets fact it...regardless of what President Obama does....all of you will still complain. If you would maybe spend more time trying to support HIM and Us as a Nation instead of being so divisive then maybe CHANGE would be Possible.
    bunch of knuckleheads

    June 4, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Grafixer

    steve-o... What do you expect him to do that has not been done?

    June 4, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
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