Editor's note: Ask the people on the Gulf coast, not the national news media, if you want to know the truth about the oil.
WEAR 3 News - Pensacola, FL
PENSACOLA BEACH - Thousands of pounds of oil are still washing up on Pensacola Beach as workers are being asked to walk off the job.
Tonight BP says it's downsizing and consolidating its clean up crews, but many say it's too soon.
"By the end of the days this staging area near Fort Pickens will be completely clear of equipment.
More than 100 local clean up workers say their job isn't close to being done".
Tina Marie Dwyer
"All this you see here- this is all tar".
It's not exactly the clear picture clean up crews say BP is advertising.
Tina Marie Dwyer
"This is nothing but tar right here. For us to lay us off and say there's no tar out here is ridiculous".
Rather, they say, there's still tons of oil...
A lot of it's below the surface
Tina Marie Dwyer
"The other night we picked up 4,000 pounds of oil in the water- every shovelful was liquid oil.
It's enough to pack these dumpsters at staging areas on Fort Pickens. But as of Tuesday night they'll be gone along with more than one hundred clean up workers contracted by a company called P-2-S.
"We're local people. We decided to take a pay cut to stay. We did that and they still forced us out".
At one point this summer there were about 500 P-2-S employees out cleaning the beaches (making between 14 and 22 bucks an hour).
"They cut us down to 50 people a day. You can't get nothing done with 50 people a day".
Now a BP says they're consolidating and downgrading because of the amount of oil on the beaches.
Tina Marie Dwyer
"BP wants us to just clean the surface, make it look aesthetically clean. There's so much oil they won't let us clean up".
"This small sample is just a scoop of sand someone picked up here along the edge of the water. Look at what it's done in just a few minutes in the sun- oil melted inside the bag. Clean up workers say the could scoop all day every day and still find this much oil in the sand.
State authorities say fish kill in St. Bernard Parish waters likely caused by low oxygen levels
Published: Monday, August 23, 2010, 5:25 PM |Updated: Monday, August 23, 2010, 11:56 PM
Bob Warren, The Times-Picayune
St. Bernard Parish authorities have reported a large fish kill at the mouth of the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet, but state wildlife officials say it does not appear to be directly related to oil from the BP leak.
Randy Pausina, head fisheries biologist for the state, said Department of Wildlife and Fisheries workers are investigating the fish kill and that the initial conclusion is that it was caused by low levels of oxygen in the water.
Pausina said extreme heat can cause areas of low oxygen, especially when coupled with nutrient-rich water coming from the Mississippi River. The state opened several river diversion structures to help keep oil from penetrating the state's wetlands. The fish were found Sunday afternoon, floating near boom that had been deployed in the area to catch oil from the BP oil leak, and washed up on the shoreline, St. Bernard Parish government said in a news release.
"By our estimates there were thousands, and I'm talking about 5,000 to 15,000 dead fish. Different species were found dead including crabs, sting rays, eel, drum, speckled trout, red fish, you name it, included in that kill", St. Bernard Parish President Craig Taffaro said.
Taffaro said there was oil in the area, but said it could not be determined at this point if it factored into the fish kill. "We don't want to jump to any conclusions because we've had some oxygen issues by the Bayou La Loutre Dam from time to time", he said in the news release.
Nonetheless, Taffaro said, "It does point to the need for us to continue to monitor our waters and that's what we'll be doing". A a thick, orange substance with tar balls and a "strong diesel smell" was located Monday morning around Grassy Island, the news release said. Skimmers were dispatched to the area.
I've been praying for a confirmation of my suspicions before I left Florida on July 4th. My home is in Hernando, Florida, just 15 miles from the Gulf. My neighbors were sick with flu-like symptoms. I worked in Ocala, Florida (25 miles north) and everyone but me and one other co-worker in my office was getting sick. But here's the clincher. On July 26th, my daughter and her family were at my home. They spent the day on our lake (our home is on a lake). When they returned back to Indiana, she showed me the clothes they wore the day they were on the lake; they did NOT get into the water. They all wore white T shirts. All these T-shirts had a brownish stain on them. She asked me what would cause this, as they did not get into the water. She was not able to get the stains out so she threw the clothes away. I knew something was wrong, but everyone seems to be in denial. They don't see the problem has reached their shores.