Tar balls on Destin beach? NO say local officials!by Dara Kam | May 12th, 2010
“There are no tar balls here.”
That’s the first thing Okaloosa County director of public safety Dino Villani said this morning when we called after hearing news reports that the gooey blobs had finally made it to Florida’s Panhandle.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service erroneously reported this morning that tar balls had washed up on Destin’s famous powder-white beaches, Villani said, setting off a phone frenzy in his office.
The massive oil spill is still more than 72 hours from Florida, state officials reported this morning, as BP tries to cap the 210,000-gallons gushing from the wrecked Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico.
The absence of tar balls on Panhandle beaches is something everyone from Gov. Charlie Crist down to Destin charter boat fishing captains have been advertising to try to convince tourists to “Come on down” to the Sunshine State, unfold their wallets and and boost the economy as the peak of the Panhandle tourist season kicks off.