Is our way of life disappearing because of oil? - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Is our way of life disappearing because of oil?

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) -

By Doug Walker – bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - It's a typically quiet morning on Front Beach in Ocean Springs.  Birds comb through the sand looking for breakfast.  A lone Pelican basks in the sunlight.  And a couple enjoys a walk along the water with man's best friend. 

But painful reminders of the oil spill are everywhere.  From the special protective fencing, to boom that floats on the water, and the empty fishing pier because the waters are closed to fishing.  The quiet soon ends with yet another reminder, the sound of oil clean-up workers looking for tar balls the entire length of the beach. 

Ray Skillestad has been coming to the beach for decades, to enjoy the serene beauty.  He fears what's coming next. 

"At the present time we have no idea what the total impact will be, however it's going to affect so many people on the gulf coast that our way of life will be changing, whether it's less time on the beach or less time dining out." 

Bob Stoliker walks the bridge every time he visits the coast from out of state.  He feels coming back from Katrina was a great leap forward for the coast and now this setback from the spill. 

"What the people have done to this area to make it as pretty as it was before and to see what happened after that, can only let me see that this oil spill could possibly be worse for years and years to come."   

While many of the folks we talked with are concerned about the changing way of life because of the oil spill, one resident expressed concern about another thing: what they're going to eat in the future.  She is bridge walker Donna Britt.  "I'm afraid that there's going to be some harm done to people that eat shrimp and fish from out of the Gulf because if it has any trace of oil in it at all I would be afraid that it would be contaminated and not edible."

And it's those kinds of concerns that leave the people of the coast hoping for an end to this oily nightmare, and waking up to the coast of old. 

By early afternoon, the 50 or so clean-up workers combing the beach in Ocean Springs had found no trace of oil.  Officials say they will continue daily inspections along the beach front.

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