I have been here since Saturday afternoon.. Talked to a bunch of people and walked several beaches and some trails. The only evidence you see here that there is something coming is the barriers the Alabama National Guard has put up on the Sound side of Fort Morgan area. These barriers are lined with a felt like material and will be filled with a polymer that binds to hydrocarbons and will not release them once bound.. Supposedly the polymer can then be used for paving or even burned with a higher BTU than lignite coal.. The polymer is not toxic to wildlife, even ingested while loaded with hydrocarbons.
The US Coast Guard has also been mobilized as 500 Reserve USCG have been deployed from all over the country to the Gulf coast to try to respond to any threat of oil coming on shore.. The group I talked to is from Hawaii.. A long way from home..
Tar balls, even though I haven't seen any yet, are normal to come on shore. They don't know where they come from.. Speculation is oil leaking from fields underwater, oil rigs leaking, tankers with oil leaking, etc.. I have been told that all the tar balls found have been tested and are not from the Deep Horizon event.. But we were also told that only 200000 gallons a day were leaking from the site and now appears that may be a gross underestimate.
All in all, people are mobilizing to try to deal with the eventual onslaught of oil.. Whether that will be beaches black with oil slicks or just a few tar balls, no one seems to know..
LA is getting hit very hard and that is the next stop on my trip by Tuesday afternoon..
I'm hoping to keep coming back to these areas to document photographic the effect of what some people say is the worst environmental disaster in American history.. Stay tuned..