Florida closes down oil-stained Pensacola beaches

Jun 24, 2010
A great blue heron stands on an oil containment boom that is being used to protect the beach area from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on June 7 in Pensacola, Florida. Oil from the massive Gulf of Mexico spill reached the white sands of Pensacola in north-eastern Florida, forcing local authorities Thursday to close down area beaches to swimming at the height of summer.

Oil from the massive Gulf of Mexico spill reached the white sands of Pensacola in north-eastern Florida, forcing local authorities Thursday to close down area beaches to swimming at the height of summer.

"There's oil both in the water and in the sand," said Warren Bielenberg, an official with the Gulf Islands National Seashore, one of the areas affected by the spill.

"There's a double red flag, so it's not permitted to swim," he said.

A health advisory was issued for Escambia County and runs from Perdido Key to Santa Rosa Island and the east side of Pensacola Beach, Bielenberg said.

Santa Rosa Island is one of the biggest tourist attractions of the region.

"The beaches are open, but it's not allowed for people to be in the water," said Bielemberg.

"There are some people still going to the beaches," he said. "They are using umbrellas and just enjoying the sun."

Florida Governor Charlie Crist visited the Pensacola beaches on Wednesday to witness the effects of the spill.

"That is disgusting," Crist said. "To see something like this in such a beautiful place is unbelievable."

The wide-spread slick could spell disaster for Florida, one of the world's top destination for tourists, with more than 80 million visitors a year.

Florida officials have mounted an aggressive beach and coastline cleanup effort to stop the oil from reaching state beaches.

Florida's 1,260 miles (2,000 kilometers) of western coastline is home to scores of tourist destinations, natural habitats and an important .

At a time of high unemployment in other sectors, tourism in generates more than a million jobs, bringing the state 65 billion dollars in revenue in 2008.

Explore further: US northeast braces for flooding after record snow

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Gulf spill spells uncertainty for new drilling

Apr 30, 2010

(AP) -- In the conservative Florida Pandhandle, where Sarah Palin's battle cry "Drill, Baby, Drill" is still visible on car bumpers, some are reconsidering their support of offshore drilling as a growing spill in the Gulf ...

Florida braces for oil spill impact

May 12, 2010

Florida environmental authorities Wednesday declared a final emergency order ahead of the arrival in the state's northwest of the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Los Angeles beaches closed after spill

Aug 09, 2006

Los Angeles County health officials ordered the closing of several Santa Monica Bay beaches after Ballona Creek was contaminated by 20,000 gallons of sewage.

BP sucking up half of oil leaking from Gulf well

Jun 07, 2010

Engineers hoped Monday to make more headway in their bid to contain a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico after energy giant BP announced it was now capturing about half of the oil gushing from its ruptured ...

Recommended for you

Avoiding ecosystem collapse

10 minutes ago

From coral reefs to prairie grasslands, some of the world's most iconic habitats are susceptible to sudden collapse due to seemingly minor events. A classic example: the decimation of kelp forests when a ...

Global warming cynics unmoved by extreme weather

51 minutes ago

What will it take to convince skeptics of global warming that the phenomenon is real? Surely, many scientists believe, enough droughts, floods and heat waves will begin to change minds.

New tool displays West Coast ocean acidification data

1 hour ago

Increasing carbon dioxide in the air penetrates into the ocean and makes it more acidic, while robbing seawater of minerals that give shellfish their crunch. The West Coast is one of the first marine ecosystems ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.