Florida Oil Update:Satellite imagery has confirmed as early as the beginning of this week that large sheens of oil were approaching the beaches of Florida. It’s really been a guessing game for the residents of Florida as to when exactly the oil would start hitting the beaches.
Musician Jimmy Buffett, wearing his Margaritaville-brand flip-flops, stood Saturday on a pier at tar-ball blotched Pensacola Beach and led a pro-beach rally, urging Floridians to "not get a 'sky is falling' attitude" over the looming oil slick.
Buffett said he has survived hurricanes, getting shot at in Jamaica and a plane crash, and he insisted he's ready to ride out the oil-spill disaster that in the last two days has hit the white sand beaches of the Florida Panhandle.
"This is an environmental disaster nobody asked for, but Floridians are tough people," Buffet said to the crowd of 1,000 beachgoers.
Tar balls swept along by strong winds hit more of the Panhandle coast Saturday, including Perdido Key at the far west end of the state and Grayton Beach, about 60 miles east of Pensacola Beach. A dozen tar mats — slabs of thickened crude as long as 30 feet — were found near Navarre Beach.
As spill-response workers collected oil blobs in the background, Buffett was joined by Gov. Charlie Crist. Although the expanding slick is largely offshore, it continues to drift east and threatens to devastate the state's crucial tourism industry. See Full Story
Containment Cap Update:A containment cap that sucked some of the oil from a blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico offered a small sign of progress for a region that has seen its wildlife coated in a lethal oil muck, its fishermen idled and its beaches tarnished by the nation's worst oil spill.
Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said Saturday that after its first full day of work, the cap placed on the gusher near the sea floor trapped about 252,000 gallons of oil, which is somewhere between a quarter to half of the oil flowing from the well, according to government estimates.
Next, engineers at BP PLC must attempt to close vents on the cap that were deliberately allowing streams of oil to escape the system so water cannot get inside. When water and gas combined in an earlier containment box, it formed a frozen slush that foiled the system.
Allen, who said the goal is to gradually increase the amount of the oil being captured, compared the process to stopping the flow of water from a garden hose with a finger: "You don't want to put your finger down too quickly, or let it off too quickly."
While BP plans to eventually use an additional set of hoses and pipes to increase the amount of oil being trapped, the ultimate solution remains a relief well that should be finished by August. Click For Full Story