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PENSACOLA BEACH, Florida (Reuters) – Gooey tar balls and sticky oil sheen washed ashore on a northwest Florida beach among vacationers and swimmers on Friday in what appeared to be the first impact on the tourism-dependent state from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Florida, the "Sunshine State" with a $60 billion-a-year tourism industry, has been bracing for the arrival of oil from the 46-day-old spill, which has already hit the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama to the west.
Buck Lee, director of the Santa Rosa Island Authority, said he could not be sure the oil came from the spill leaking from BP Plc's undersea Gulf of Mexico well off Louisiana "but I'm 90 percent certain that it is."