There's no doubt that the impact of the BP Gulf spill will be felt for years to come. But you'd be forgiven for thinking that the oil itself was no longer of concern -- both the Obama administration and BP itself have pushed an overly sunny portrait of the state of the spill. Remember all that talk a few months back about all that oil 'vanishing'? Well, that's not quite the case. Innumerable tar balls have just bombarded an Alabama beach, giving indication that the immediate consequences of the spill aren't even over yet. There's some video of the scene from WKRG News above, and here's the Alabama Press-Register:
The tip of the Fort Morgan peninsula is awash in tarballs ... Tarballs ranging from the size of a nickel to the size of a person's palm are spread liberally along the water's edge and at the foot of the sand dunes well up the beach.Gulf cleanup crews had reportedly taken a 10 day break right before the tarballs struck, and they're back in action.
Along the water, the tarballs outnumber seashells and other flotsam. Hunks of oiled debris, including a mattress, were strewn along the beach Wednesday morning. Bits of tar were wedged into the crevices of fighting conchs and cockle shells.
On the higher sections of the beach, tarballs were so plentiful that they were seldom more than an inch apart.
BP has stated that all cleanup for the spill will be completed by the tourist season ushered in by spring break this year -- but if tarballs keep washing ashore like this, that may be another optimistic prediction the oil company may have to abandon. But who knows? Even if they don't manage to clean up the beaches, perhaps vacationers won't be deterred after all -- these folks certainly weren't.
More on the BP Gulf Spill
Must-See Video Shows BP Gulf Spill & Toxic Dispersants Underwater
Breaking Down the BP Gulf Spill Blame Game
Vacationers Ignore Tar Balls , Children Play on Oiled Beach (Video)