Tar Balls Hit Fla. Beaches as Obama Returns to Gulf

Residents plan 'last swim' before more oil arrives
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2010 3:45 PM CDT
A map of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill response is seen behind President Obama as he makes a statement after being briefed on relief efforts, June 4, 2010, at the New Orleans airport in Kenner, La.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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(Newser) – Beachgoers in Florida got their first taste of the Gulf oil spill today as tar balls—some as large as hubcaps—washed up on Panhandle beaches. BP crews at some locations swept up the refuse, instructing visitors not to touch the balls. Although Florida has yet to declare swimming in the Gulf unsafe, some locals are rushing to the beaches to take a "last swim," the Pensacola News Journal reports. Meanwhile, President Obama arrived in New Orleans for his third visit since the Deepwater Horizon explosion on April 20.

Obama blasted BP for spending money on a PR campaign and said it's "way too early to be optimistic" about the latest attempt to contain the oil gushing from the floor of the Gulf. BP managed to cover the ruptured well with an upside-down funnel, but oil is still rushing out of vents cut into the funnel. Engineers will be closing the vents one by one today in an attempt to stem the flow of oil.
(Read more Gulf oil spill stories.)

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