Local reporters at Anastasia State Park in February, 1974 faced similar problems as those that loom perilously over the State of Florida today, according to Historic City News sources.
From the news article that appeared in print on Wednesday, February 6th, an oil slick estimated to be about seven miles long and a half-mile wide was located off Flagler Beach after a six-day search by Florida Marine Patrol and U.S. Coast Guardsmen.
Some 200 oil-soaked birds were rescued and cleaned among others found dead along the St. Johns County beach. The surviving, disabled birds were packed into tomato boxes and sent to Suncoast Sea Bird Sanctuary in St. Petersburg; as seen in the photo of Park Ranger Steve Brown and State Representative Gus Craig taken at the St. Augustine airport.
The oil spill caused when oil rig operated by BP exploded in the Gulf of Mexico recently, has resulted in a continuing leak of alarming proportions and has yet to be taken under control. BP did not have a safety valve or backup system commonly used by offshore drillers to close off a wellhead in emergencies such as this.
Tar balls are beginning to show up in the Florida Keys and the loss of marine life is presently inestimable. Some experts question whether or not Florida’s Gulf Coast fishing industry will ever recover from this environmental disaster.