Coastal Crisis: Governor Barbour calls for more defenses - - Jackson, MS

Coastal Crisis: Governor Barbour calls for more defenses

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By Marsha Thompson - bio | email

MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST (WLBT) - Oil has hit Petit Bois Island, Dauphin Island in Alabama and is just a few miles out Wednesday from a tourist mecca, Pensacola Beach.

After spotting a swatch of tar balls on Petit Bois Island Tuesday, Governor Haley Barbour flew over the area Wednesday.  He's asked BP and the White House to put more boats off the Mississippi coast to intercept oil after a two-mile long slick of crude washed up Tuesday.

"We don't have enough or do not have vessels outside the Barrier Islands," said Governor Barbour.

Barbour expects more oil to hit the islands and said this sends a wake-up call for more defenses.

"We have to put our whole defense in place.  We're not like it was where the northern edge of this was 75 miles away," said Barbour.

Meanwhile, the coast is open for business, and advertisements will be aired on television stations across the country to attract vacationers.

One ad saying "The Mississippi Gulf Coast is open for business, open for you."

The series of regional television ads is on hold in Alabama until officials assess the extent of oil balls landing on state beaches.

"It's June 2010, and nothing has changed, Alabama's coast is perfectly clear."

With tourism in full bloom, Alabama is moving with caution, and so is Governor Barbour as he issues a wake up call, hopeful summer on the beach will be non-eventful.

BP paid $15 million to Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana and $25 million to Florida to attract tourism in the midst of the massive spill in the gulf.

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