Sunday, June 27, 2010

Ruining the best

A day after this pristine seashore was walloped with oil, most of the sticky crude was gone from its beaches -- either cleaned up, buried or swept back into the sea.

But the question remained: How could miles of gooey mess have slipped past the ocean skimmers onto the shore?

The answer: Easily.

Although state officials say there are about 20 skimming vessels working night and day straining matted and weathered oil from the sea, there are too few of them to cover much of the vast Gulf, and the effort is more art than science.

"It's almost like beating a grizzly bear with a hickory stick," said charter boat Capt. Paul Redman Jr., who has been battling the oil on his "vessel of opportunity" -- the label for private boats serving in the cleanup -- for about three weeks. "You're going to fight till you can't fight no more. No one wants to give up."

The failure to stop the oil from hitting shore has frustrated area residents and raised questions about the effectiveness of the cleanup effort. But it has also brought home the point that there is no way to protect the 50-plus miles of Panhandle coastline now vulnerable to the oil.

The sad fact is that the Panama City to Pensacola beaches effected the most by the uncontrolled BP oil gusher are the prettiest beaches on the east coast of the USA. If you've ever paid attention to "Dr. Beach", at least 3 or 4 of the top ten "best beaches" each year were on that 3 county stretch of beach.

No comments: