Tar balls hit Texas beaches as weather disrupts oil spill cleanup
Tar balls have reached Texas beaches, and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico 2010 has fouled the shoreline of every gulf state. Driven by winds from Hurricane Alex, the BP oil spill is spreading as bad weather continued to hamper cleanup efforts. Tar balls have also reached Louisiana’s Lake Ponchetrain as oil creeps inland. As the BP oil spill approaches 130 million gallons and counting, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) expanded the no-fishing zone in the gulf and said tar balls have a good chance of washing ashore as far away as Fort Lauderdale and Miami.
Texas in denial as tar balls hit beaches
Tar balls found Sunday on eastern Galveston Island in Texas were from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico 2010, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. The Houston Chronicle reports that officials believe the tar balls reached the Galveston area from a ship that got tar balls stuck or attached to its side traveling through the BP oil spill area. Ships passing through the BP oil spill are supposed to go through a decontamination station before reaching the coastline. Texas authorities still insist that the oil slick that has fouled the beaches of other Gulf states is not coming their way.
Oil spill cleanup hampered by bad weather
Oil spill company BP said it’s stepping up oil skimming efforts, despite the fact that bad weather has made that impossible. Gulf tourism faced a bleak Fourth of July weekend that had nothing to do with the stormy weather. AOL News reports that Hurricane Alex shut down oil skimming last week and a new tropical system is brewing east of the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. A new storm may strike Texas and Louisiana on Wednesday, according to AccuWeather.com. Strong winds and high seas still held up oil skimming, burning oil or laying boom Tuesday.
Huge oil skimming ship tested
Oil spill cleanup efforts may soon be aided by a vessel billed as the world’s biggest oil skimmer. The New York Times reports that the Taiwanese-flagged ship A Whale is three and a half football fields long and 10 stories high. It’s outfitted with vents on its bow, which are expected to skim as many as 21 million gallons of oil-tainted water each day. But stiff winds and choppy seas have made that impossible so far. A Whale is one of more than 6,563 ships, along with some 113 aircraft that BP is paying for in the oil spill cleanup and containment. BP’s price tag for the spill has hit $3.12 billion.
Tar balls forecasted in Miami
As skimming is on hold and the BP oil leak continues to spew up to 60,000 gallons a day into the sea, NOAA forecasts that the loop current brings a 61-80 percent chance that tar balls will reach within 20 miles of the coasts of the Florida Keys, Fort Lauderdale and Miami. USA Today reports that NOAA said the coastlines most likely — 81 to 100 percent — to be hit by oil extend from the Mississippi River Delta to the western panhandle of Florida, where tar balls are already washing ashore. NOAA says Chances are slight — 1 to 20 percent — that oil will reach the Eastern Seaboard, and it’s “increasingly unlikely” that oil will affect areas above North Carolina because the Gulf Stream moves away from the continental United States at Cape Hatteras.