The BP oil spill, Pensacola Beach nightmare, fouls the white sand

The white sands of Pensacola Beach on a perfect post card day

The Gulf oil spill, Pensacola's worst nightmare, finally arrived to foul its pristine beaches as BP paid out billions in dividends. Flickr photo.

The BP oil spill Pensacola had watched close in for days arrived on its white sandy beaches Friday. BP placed a cap over the gushing oil in an attempt to slow down the flow as the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico 2010 has fouled shorelines in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and now Florida. President Obama arrived for his third visit to the gulf oil spill cleanup as crude washed up on Pensacola Beach. Meanwhile, BP launched a $50 million advertising campaign to try and burnish the company’s oil-stained image while the oil spill live feed continued to show a gushing black cloud.

Pensacola Beach oil slick

The BP oil spill, Pensacola’s worst nightmare, has dumped up to 47 million gallons of oil in the gulf, according to government estimates. Other estimates are as high as 112 million gallons. The Associated Press reports that swimmers at Pensacola Beach rushed out of the water after wading into the oil slick. Others curiously inspected the tarballs and congealed goo while some took pictures of the contamination. Children were seen playing with globs of weathered petroleum like Play-Doh. Oil fumes drowned out the sea breeze.

Oil spill Florida Friday

On oil spill Florida Friday, the president visited the Gulf oil spill cleanup and publicly criticized BP for paying $10.5 billion in first quarter shareholder dividends and millions on advertising to save its image while thousands of people whose livelihoods were wrecked by the company’s oil spill were having a hard time getting paid for damage claims. The New York Times reports that BP’s failure to stop the leak after more than six weeks has fueled negative public opinion about the administration’s handling of the disaster. The White House wants to demonstrate that it is in control. Federal officials have been assigned to look over the claims process to make sure that BP pays valid claims.

Oil spill live feed still gushing

The oil spill top cap, the latest solution after 46 days of failures that included the top hat, top kill and junk shot, appeared to be slowing the flow of oil in the gulf. CNN reports that BP finally began to siphon oil from the ruptured undersea well to the surface, where it was flowing onto the awaiting drill ship Discover Enterprise. As the recovery process started Friday, BP said it would shut four vents on top of a containment cap from which oil was still escaping into the ocean. The company hoped that closing the vents would greatly reduce the amount of gushing crude shown on the oil spill live feed, and the ultimate success of BP’s latest effort to contain and recover the oil, after so many failures to date, is very much in doubt.

Oil spill effects

As for other oil spill effects, the National Wildlife Federation reported Wednesday that six to nine times more sea turtles are turning up dead than usual. And 29 stranded dolphins found since the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico 2010 began represent two to six times the normal amount. Other oil spill effects so far include 444 birds and 222 sea turtles have found dead in the area, according to a recent tally provided by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The Christian Science Monitor reports that scientists expect undersea species ranging from sperm whales to bluefin tuna to be harmed by the spill.

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