Ft. Walton Beach, Destin littered with tar balls

By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –   The Gulf Oil Crisis continues to worsen further east on the Florida Panhandle.  Small tar balls washed ashore Wednesday night at the town they call the "World's Luckiest Fishing Village."

Even after clean up crews worked overnight, the tar balls are washing ashore in greater numbers.

Destin natives are getting their first look as the oil crisis washes up on their shore.

Dixie Flowers gets her first look at tar balls, inspecting them. "To be able to come out here and get oil on my hands is very surprising."

Flowers, and husband Buzz Howard, go to the beach almost everyday to relax, but this is their first time experiencing the Gulf Crisis in their home.

"It's not a shock, we've been waiting two months," Howard said.

The dime and nickel size tar balls wash ashore with almost every wave.  Clark Drago is mad and frustrated. "It's not really much we can do as locals.  I guess we can get up and clean what washes up on the shore. What can we do?

These locals know their neighbor's businesses are already suffering , and now tar balls on the beach will make it worse.

"It's taking money out of their pockets," Drago said.

"I understand the restaurant business is down 30 to 50 percent from people I talk to in the supply business," Howard said.

These Destin natives say they are sad, frustrated, but say they are not going to let the oil crisis stop them coming to their beach.

"I'll still be coming even if there are tarballs on the beach.  I might get me a Walmart bag and start picking them up," Flowers said.

Those Destin natives say they are going to do their best to continue their way of life, and save their community from the Gulf Oil Crisis, but they admit they are worried that the Gulf could be impacted  for the rest of their lifetime.

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