07/06/10 10:47am

THE POWER BALLS HAVE ARRIVED! Okay, fess up: Which one of you has been secretly transporting oil from the Deepwater Horizon gusher to our local beaches? The Coast Guard reported over the weekend that up to 5 gallons of dime- to ping-pong-ball-size tar balls collected from the surf along East Beach in Galveston and the Bolivar Peninsula’s Crystal Beach came from BP’s little offshore accident. But surely the little bugger-balls can’t have been trying to swim all the way back to headquarters? “[Coast Guard captain Marcus] Woodring said the condition of the tar balls didn’t look like they had drifted all the way from the Macondo well. They were ‘inconsistent with the weathering pattern that would be expected,’ he said. ‘To travel 400 miles is going to take a long time,’ during which the oil would be expected to break down. Officials were investigating whether the tar balls were from oil that clung to the hull of a ship passing through the BP oil slick or were from ballast water taken on by a ship in the oil slick zone and later dumped in Texas waters, Woodring said.” [Houston Chronicle]

06/19/09 8:45am

GROWING PROPERTY LINES ON THE BEACH The owners of more than 2 dozen properties on the Bolivar Peninsula have been planting grass and shrubs along the edges of the dunes on the seaward side of their land. Why? The General Land Office prohibits new construction beyond the natural vegetation line. “‘The front row (of beach houses) is gone, and they are hoping to establish the vegetation line where it was before,’ said Dan Peck, 54, whose neighbors planted a swath of grass about 250 yards long. . . . Peck’s house in the Singing Sands subdivision near Crystal Beach was in the fourth row from the beach before Ike swept away the front three rows of houses Sept. 13. The vegetation line is established by the General Land Office, but Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said he may wait as long as two years after the storm before marking the formal line that could determine the fate of many Gulf properties.” [Houston Chronicle]