As Oil Comes Ashore at Gulf Islands National Seashore, Republican Calls for Renewed Drilling Along Outer Continental Shelf
More oil was coming ashore Friday in parts of Gulf Islands National Seashore, with tar balls several inches in diameter seen near Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island.
In Washington, D.C., meanwhile, a top Republican was calling for the Obama administration to lift its moratorium on off-shore drilling.
At the national seashore, Warren Bielenberg, a retired National Park Service staffer called in to help the strained agency respond to the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe, said that Friday was the first time tar balls had been spotted on Santa Rosa Island.
“It was pretty minimal, but it was there for the first time. There was one area maybe 10 by 20 feet that I counted about nine from the size of an eraser to a 3-inch by 4-inch glop," said Mr. Bielenberg.
Earlier this week a 2-mile-long oil slick carrying tar balls came ashore at Petit Bois Island at the national seashore.
Further east in the gulf, no impacts from the disaster were reported Friday at Dry Tortugas, Everglades, or Biscayne national parks, nor at De Soto National Memorial or Big Cypress National Preserve. At all those parks operations were running normally.
In Washington, meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, a Republican from Washington state, lamented the drilling moratorium placed on the Outer Continental Shelf.
"This action could cost an estimated 46,000-120,000 jobs, primarily in the Gulf region where they can least afford to lose more employment opportunities," said Congressman Hastings, the ranking Republican on the House Natural Resources Committee. "We all share the goal of wanting America’s offshore drilling to be the safest in the world and our immediate focus should continue to be on stopping the leak, containing the spill and protecting the shoreline. However we cannot lose sight of the significant economic impact that deepwater drilling has on jobs, our economy and our energy security.”
While the Park Service has deployed two incident management teams to respond to oil impacts in the Gulf, the agency is clearly stretched thin by the incident. That's evidenced by the need to call in retired personnel to help out and by the reassigning of personnel -- including park superintendents -- from as far away as Sequoia National Park to help provide assistance.