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. Jimmy Dean

    Oh well--Life goes on! ho-HO!

    June 4, 2010 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. paulallan

    What exactly is unexpected here? This is the direct result of low taxes and little government oversight. Those (conservatives almost exclusively) who, for the past 30 years, have argued for lower taxes and deregulation of every industry should take COMPLETE responsibility for this (and for the recent banking disaster and financial industry disasters, both of which could have been prevented by tighter government oversight at the cost of higher taxes). When you continually argue for letting the fox guard the henhouse and the fox kills all the hens, don't act surprised. My only hope is that these disasters are a WAKEUP CALL FOR HIGHER TAXES and much closer government control over industry, otherwise we'll just be seeing more of these types of situations. I'd much rather pay a little bit more in taxes and not have huge costs later on to fix: banks/financial organizations/oil slicks/whatever will blow up next.

    June 4, 2010 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dorothy W.

      Absolutely right!

      June 6, 2010 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
  3. Skydive Louie

    WHAT IN THE HELL IS IT GOING TO TAKE TO GET SOMEONE IN CHARGE TO GET THIS OIL STOPPED?! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD!!!

    IS IT GOING TO TAKE A FREAKING ROCKET SCIENTIST TO GET THIS PROBLEM STOPPED?! DON'T WE HAVE SOME OF THOSE?!

    WHY DON'T WE CALL NASA IN TO HELP CREATE AN EFFECTIVE SOLUTION TO STOP THIS HORRIBLE DISASTER! NASA IS CERTAINLY FAMILIAR WITH WORKING IN VERY HOSTILE ENVIRONMENTS. LET'S GET THEM ON THIS PROBLEM! YESTERDAY!!!

    WHY ARE WE ASKING THE SAME MONKEYS THAT CREATED THIS PROBLEM TO CLEAN UP THEIR OWN CRAP FROM THEIR CAGES, AND THEN STAND AROUND SCRATCHING OUR HEADS AS TO WHY THEY CAN'T FIGURE IT OUT?!

    1000 barrells a day being pumped on to a ship from the spill? Why so little? A rep from bp on NBC saying they're moving slowly to keep water separated from the oil. Really? The actual STOPPING OF THE LEAK not important enough? Are they really trying to filter the oil for resale? Would NOT surprise me.

    June 4, 2010 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. beagleslayer

    2021 is a coming

    June 4, 2010 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. TheDude

    WARNING: CNN CENSORS PEOPLE FOR SPEAKING THEIR MIND! I HAVEN'T USED ANY PROFANITY AND ALL OF MY COMMENTS HAVE BEEN DELETED.

    June 4, 2010 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Neil

    (The idea of having BP pay the room and board of volunteers cleaning up the oil) I love it!

    June 4, 2010 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. MC

    Why can't they unbolt the top part of the flange and put a new flange on with a valve that can be slowly shut.

    June 4, 2010 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Judy

    Bottom line, the Ocean dies, WE die, I am with the individuals who are trying to come up with some type of solution.
    Networking maybe the only way to put more than one bright mind together and find a REAL solution.
    My grandchildren are not even able to walk. i would hate to just show them pictures and tell them how it was in my day. What about you? Quit pointing fingers. The idiots thought of only money, name a new tune.
    How about compassion, pulling together as we Americans have done for centuries and helping?
    Kevein Costner had that machine that purified 200gallons a minute. Have they looked at that plus closing this well up?

    June 4, 2010 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. John from AZ

    We have a bunch of illegals here in Arizona that can help clean it up, unless there's a boycott against it...

    June 4, 2010 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ken

    My sister lives for the beach down there in Pensacola. I told here to bill BP so she can use a beach further away.

    June 4, 2010 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. SallyV

    George Bush hates all black people.

    June 4, 2010 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kathy

      Oh My gosh. That is the most ignorant remark i've heard in a long time. Oh wait you must an Obama supporter. I would like to see our President quit blaming everything on Bush. I mean he's only been Preisdent for over a year now. I just love it when out Preisdent says he takes full responsibility and then blames Bush for everything. Always a good laugh.

      June 6, 2010 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      Hey Kathy – that was sarcasm.

      June 7, 2010 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  12. ElBarto06

    Oil is now washing up on the gorgeous white beaches of the Florida panhandle (Perdido Key / Pensacola)…perhaps that whole Hopey/Changey thing is working out for some of you but what I would like to see is some real leadership from Washington. Forty-six days and counting is just too long and completely unacceptable.

    June 4, 2010 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • techstyle

      Government involvement in private commerce is socialism, you dirty commie. Like my granddaddy and dad said "Better dead than red".
      Drill Baby Drill. Who cares about some "Beach Huggin Hippies" anyway.

      June 4, 2010 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. For America

    I am not happy that it is on P'cola Beach, but why is the Media so wanting to report it on Florida beaches...... We have beaches in Alabama and the oil has been here for 3 days now! Everyone always wants to report on LA and FL, but no one has reported anyhting about Alabama..... Mobile is one of the most unique eco system in the world, but I guess there will be no more Jubilees in Mobile Bay! Media needs to spread the news around and not only report on LA and FL!

    June 4, 2010 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Judy

    I like the clean up and hotel idea.I travel to Orlando yearly. I would not be opposed to assiting in keeping America Beautiful. Can someone get a web site for volunteers? Maybe through the tourism web site.

    June 4, 2010 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. John

    I live in central Texas now, but I'm from New Orleans. Just got back from a terrific trip to Pensacola and New Orleans two weeks ago. I keep thinking about how beautiful the beaches are in Alabama and Florida, and the damage done to my home state.

    Makes me sick...

    and furious.

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