First lady Michelle Obama will travel to Panama City Beach, Fla., on Monday to meet with members of the community and discuss the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the White House announced this afternoon.
The first lady will begin her visit with a briefing by officials and local leaders. She will then speak to the Panama City Beach community at an open event in the early evening, White House officials said.
It remains to be seen if areas farther west will be as blessed as Panama City Beach since well, that's where the oil has been. Northwest Florida has seen several of its pristine beaches fouled with tarballs, oil mousse and sheen. But for the most part, Panama City Beach has gotten off fairly well. Just a few miles east on US 98, Fort Walton Beach and Destin got hammered pretty hard. Navarre, Pensacola Beach and Gulf Breeze have gotten hit even harder.
Alabama and Mississippi shores have both been fouled as badly or worse than Pensacola, and of course the bulk of the shoreline damage done by spilled crude is on the Louisiana shore, where nearly 300 miles of contiguous shoreline see oil beaching almost daily. The image below is a screenshot of the JIC's mapping tool, ERMA. Click it for the full screen version.
Note the legend to the right, showing the latest observations of beached oil. Areas with blue lines along the coast have no beached oil observed. In fact, there hasn't been oil coming ashore in Panama City for days, and the latest projections of the slick's trajectory through the weekend show the oil will be miles and miles and miles to the west.
You watch, though--when she does her little dog and pony show for the crowd on Monday night, she'll talk about a "devastating impact" she's never even seen.
What a joke.
Gimme some feedback in the comments.