Yes Virginia, there is oil coming ashore along the Alabama Gulf Coast. Despite what is being told by the officials, oily seaweed and tar balls have started to wash up along the shores of Dauphin Island and Gulf Shores, Alabama.
My first stop was Dauphin Island, as I approached a barricade I was informed I could go no further, only residents allowed was the message from the official. I displayed my credentials and asked again – an emphatic no was the response. Needless to say, this just spurned my curiosity - turned the truck around drove about a mile or so, pulled off the road and decided to hike back up to this "No go zone".
I crossed over the dunes and to my amazement; there were no crews on the beach, as far as the eye could see, basically no-one, other than a few residents walking on this normally crowded beach. Where is this supposed massive cleanup crew? The other observation, where are the booms, none to be seen and yes there are tar balls on this once pristine white beach. I continued on my little trek and to my surprise, I found a few members of this so-called cleanup crew, not on the beach, but standing around along the backside of a condo parking lot. School buses full of blue tee-shirted seated people, others mulling around the parking lot and what looked to be some form of vacuum truck. Naturally, my first thought - Why aren't these folks out cleaning up?
As I continued down the beach, off in the distance a four-wheeler appeared and yep, it looked as though it was headed my way. Figured I might as well keep going after all, this is public beach, what's the worse they could do? As the two young men pulled along aside me - I was quickly informed that all the beaches in the area were closed and I was to leave, okay I said – Where are the crews? I questioned. "No comment" was his response – Where are the booms to keep the oil off the beach? He responded again "No comment". It was becoming obvious these gentlemen were not going to allow me to advance any further nor were they going to answer any questions. The younger of these two and a rather healthy young man I might add, stepped from the 4-wheeler and stated it was time to go. My truck is about 3 miles that-a-way as I pointed - his only comment - "Guess we've got a nice walk ahead of us". The other person turned the four-wheeler around a headed in the opposite direction.
There are things going here that we are not being told, both BP Oil and the Government are providing misleading statements. Here are a few notes from someone who was finally willing to make a few comments – off the record.
Where are the booms? Most are off the Louisiana coastline, and many of the few booms put in place along this area, were not anchored properly and were simply floating freely around the bay.
Where are the crews? Scattered around, one group is here just to pick up "Trash". Others are in staging and are awaiting orders as to where to go. Basically they wait for the oil to come ashore somewhere, pile in a bus and head to target zone.
There does not seem to be any skimmers in the area, where are they? At the docks waiting to be deployed.
How much oil is expected in the area? The sheen is a few miles off shore. However, there are oil plumes deeper than expected in the area. Though there will be problems along the Alabama and Florida coast, it's not expected to be as disastrous as what has occurred along the Louisiana coast and wetlands. Of course if the winds continue to come in from the Southwest, then more oil will be pushed ashore. Currently the Mississippi Gulf coast is not being affected, only because the winds have not shifted to come out of the south.
What would happen should a tropical storm or hurricane occur? His thought, everything in the area would be covered in oil - yard, car, house, and pool – might as well burn everything and start over.