Tar balls reach Texas
It is not certain how the oil managed to reach that far. Some say that it is unlikely that it was carried by the natural currents to the eastern coast of Texas. A Coast Guard official mentioned that there is a strong possibility for a ship to have carried the oil unintentionally. He also stated that nothing is certain yet, but that further investigations will be made in order for this mystery to be solved. The amount of oil which managed to reach the coast of Texas is minuscule compared to the amount which reached the Gulf Coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, and Alabama. This further backs-up the claim that the oil was carried by a ship and that it did not reach the coasts via the currents. Nevertheless, a team of cleaners was quickly sent to the areas, and the officials claimed that they will demand compensations from the British company. Jerry Patterson, the Texas Land Commissioner stated in a press released that the shores will be quickly cleaned and that the money for the operation will come from BP.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted on Friday that there is a high possibility for the oil to reach the coast of Texas. Based on various analyses they stated that there are 40% chances for the oil to reach the area. Hans Graber, a marine physicist at the University of Miami and co-director of the Center for Southeastern Tropical Advanced Remote Sensing stated that he expected for this to happen, calling it “just a matter of time.” The predictions from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration make the situation more complicated since because it contradicts with the theory released by the Coast Guard Official. Capt. Marcus Woodring, the Coast Guard commander for the Houston/Galveston sector stated that 5 gallons of tar balls have been found Saturday, and that two more were found the following day. Woodring said that the consistency of the oil indicates that it could have been spread in that direction by the ships which were on the water and which had the task of cleaning up the oil.
The tar balls which were found Saturday were bigger than the ones found Sunday. The ones from Saturday had the size of a ping-pong ball, whereas the Sunday ones had the size of a coin. Joe Jaworski, which is the mayor of Galveston, the city which was affected the most by the oil, believes that the incident was just a fluke, believing the theory that the oil reached the coast because of the ships, and not because of the currents. He is optimistic that no more oil will reach the area. The distance between the Texas and Florida coasts is of 550 miles. Louisiana seems to be affected more and more by the spill, as it managed to enter deeper into the state. Oil was seen in the Rigolets, on Monday. The Rigolets is one of the two waterways which make the connection between the Gulf and Lake Pontchartrain.
The offshore skimming operations have been halted during these past few days because of the heavy rain and winds which occurred in the region of Louisiana. At first it was predicted that the rains will evolve into a tropical storm, but that wasn’t the case, as the rains quickly moved over the region. The skimming operations from Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida were halted because of Hurricane Alex. Smaller storms quickly followed the hurricane, halting the operations once more. The storms are expected to last at least 3 days, but they could last for a whole week, during which the operations can not continue. The officials are prepared for the worst, and currently the worst thing which could happen would be for the spill site to be hit by a hurricane. That could set the operations way back, because the disturbances could move the cap which located on the well, and which stops a certain amount of oil from reaching the waters. The British company has to pay $20 billion for the damages it has caused. The costs from the spill are about $3.12 billion. The British company hopes for the problem to be solved by mid-August.11