The Associated Press Beach walkers pass tar balls that line a long stretch of sand in Pensacola Beach, Fla., on Thursday. Pensacola Beach officials have closed the public beaches to swimmers. Oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster continues to wash ashore along the Alabama and Florida coasts. A cap was back in place on BP’s broken oil well in the Gulf of Mexico after a deep-sea blunder forced crews to temporarily remove it.
GALVESTON, Texas – A Texas official said Monday that tar balls from the Gulf oil spill have been found on state beaches, becoming the first known evidence that gushing crude from the Deepwater Horizon well has now reached all the Gulf states.
Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said two crews were removing tar balls found on the Bolivar Peninsula and Galveston Island on Sunday.
"We've said since day one that if and when we have an impact from Deepwater Horizon, it would be in the form of tarballs," Patterson said in a news release. "This shows that our modeling is accurate. Any Texas shores impacted by the Deepwater spill will be cleaned up quickly and BP will be picking up the tab."
The state said responders have recovered about 35 gallons of waste material tainted by the oil from the two sites.
Signs of landfall by oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill had previously only been reported in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.
The distance between the westernmost reach of the spill in Texas and the easternmost reports of oil in Florida is about 550 miles. Oil was first spotted on land near the mouth of the Mississippi River on April 29.
And the spill is reaching deeper into Louisiana. Strings of oil were also seen Monday in the Rigolets, one of two waterways that connect Lake Ponchartrain, the large lake north of New Orleans, with the Gulf.
"So far it's scattered stuff showing up, mostly tar balls," said Louisiana Office of Fisheries Assistant Secretary Randy Pausina. "It will pull out with the tide, and then show back up."
Pausina said he expected the oil to clear the passes and move directly into the lake, taking a backdoor route to New Orleans.