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Tourism-dependent Florida braces for hit as next Gulf oil front

June 6, 2010 by Post Team 

Tourism-dependent Florida braces for hit as next Gulf oil front:Pensacola, Florida – The welcome sign to the beach resort of white sugar sand Sunday marked the untimely arrival of oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico Eastern Front: “Do not pick up the balls of oil, let the cleaning crew to do .

Despite the caution, the tourists from Illinois and Tammy Schakelford Taggert could not help themselves taking a stroll along the water, picking up a pea-sized globules of glistening black oil and depositing it in a soda bottle plastic .

“I do not know,” Taggert said in response to a question by the apparent futility of the exercise, and what to do with the leftovers. “Take a house, I guess. I am a bit surprised that the beaches have not closed yet.”

The decision would come from Santa Rosa County Authority, but from the beaches remained open Sunday.

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said he expects the impact on his state would not be as severe as discharge, toxic soup created oil spills in deep water marshes to the west horizon.

Florida’s fabulous beaches are the top draw of its tourism industry, the number one money-motor. The state attracts about 80 million visitors a year, bringing in 60 billion dollars, state data show.

“Hopefully,” he said, the oil does not appear in “the way it has been showing up in Louisiana.

“It’s easy to clean the beaches because we could do this weekend in Pensacola. We were disappointed that it was on the beach at all, but can clean fairly quickly,” he told CNN.

“It’s much more difficult is what we’ve seen in Louisiana, to penetrate the marshes and estuaries, once you get there, it is very difficult to clean. We’re trying to do the best we can with the resources we have,” he said.

Schakelford Taggert said he grew up in the Pensacola area and Tammy were married in Pensacola fishing pier in 2004.

Saturday, he sailed in the waters of here until his eyes began to itch and contaminated water left a bad taste.

“It’s almost like losing a family member,” said the idyllic setting. “You’re angry, upset – that feeling you get in your gut.”

Not only brought by the tidal waters, the laundering of algae on the beach was also blood staining orange-brown oil, deadly for the organisms that live there.

The fishing pier is doing business here below normal, with only three dozen fishermen throughout its length.

Typically, said Mike Grobstig of Pensacola, the spring would be almost shoulder to shoulder with fishermen.

“It will be a disaster for the entire Gulf Coast,” said Grobstig of concern both for the tourism industry and fishing.

Grobstig, a plumber who has just finished working at the newly opened Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville hotel on the beach, lamented the impending loss. “If it is going to mess up the beaches. You can see the white sand – you know what oil will do to the white sand.”

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