Officials confirmed Tuesday, June 2, that an oil sheen from the BP Oil spill that occurred a month and a half ago is within 10 miles of Pensacola, FL beaches and could hit land Wednesday.
The oil from the BP oil rig explosion has already reached three other states in the Gulf of Mexico: Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. If it hits the Florida Panhandle this week, it will make Florida the fourth state to be affected.
Winds are forecast to blow across the Gulf of Mexico from the south and west for the remainder of the week, pushing the oil toward Pensacola, FL. The oil could reach shore as early as today, Wednesday, June 2.
“It’s inevitable that we will see it on the beaches,” Keith Wilkins, Escambia’s deputy chief of neighborhood and community services said.
“It’s all going to depend on the weather. The wind could change it,” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration spokesman Ben Sherman said.
Florida’s tourist season, which began Memorial Day weekend, has just begun. It is feared that the oil spill will affect tourism, ultimately affecting the Florida economy.
As of Wednesday morning, Florida’s tourism website said “there continue to be no confirmed oil sightings associated with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on Florida’s shores at this time.”
Island Empress, a resort in Pensacola Beach, has set up a webcam to try to reassure tourists that the beaches are still crowded and oil-free at this time.
Multiple attempts to stop the leak have been made with no avail. It is said that the best chance to completely stop the leak is a relief well, which apparently is a solution that is two months away.
The BP Oil spill that took place on April 20, 2010, is now is now the largest oil spill in U.S. history. The government is currently investigating the spill.