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TAR BALLS TURN UP ON TEXAS COAST

GALVESTON, Texas - A Texas official said Monday that tar balls from the gulf oil spill have been found on state beaches, becoming the first known evidence that gushing crude from the Deepwater Horizon well has now reached all the gulf states.

Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said two crews were removing tar balls found on the Bolivar Peninsula and Galveston Island on Sunday.

The state said responders at the two sites have recovered about 35 gallons of waste material tainted by the oil.

Signs of landfall by oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill had previously been reported only in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.

The distance between the westernmost reach of the spill in Texas and the easternmost reports of oil in Florida is about 550 miles.

The spill is also reaching deeper into Louisiana. Strings of oil were seen Monday in the Rigolets, one of two waterways that connect Lake Pontchartrain, the large lake north of New Orleans, with the gulf.

Storms keep armada from fighting spill

PASS CHRISTIAN, Miss. - Across a wide stretch of the Gulf of Mexico, efforts to limit the damage from the region's worst-ever oil spill have been essentially landlocked for more than a week.

Offshore oil skimming along the coasts of Alabama, Florida and Mississippi came to a stop early last week because of choppy seas brewed up by Hurricane Alex.

Now they're stymied by a succession of smaller storms that could last well into this week. Workers have been forced to fight the oil with containment booms and cleanups after it has already reached the shore.

Information from the Associated Press and New York Times was used in this report.

"The Endangered Species Act requires caution, but federal wildlife agencies allowed offshore oil drilling to play Russian roulette with endangered species in the gulf."

Daniel J. Rohlf, the clinical director of the Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center at Lewis & Clark Law School. Less than three years before the gulf oil spill erupted, federal regulators concluded several offshore drilling projects posed a low risk to endangered wildlife - a determination that contrasts sharply with recent scenes of birds struggling to survive the slick. A September 2007 memo from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said large oil spills from proposed drilling projects under review were "low-probability events" that weren't likely to affect brown pelicans, sea turtles and other animals with Gulf Coast habitats. The memo suggests that the former Minerals Management Service wasn't the only federal agency that failed to identify and attempt to minimize the risks of deepwater drilling.

$3BBP's tab so far for the oil spill. Costs climbed nearly half a billion dollars in the past week, raising the oil giant's costs to just over $3 billion. London-based BP, the largest oil and gas producer in the gulf, released its latest tally of response costs Monday. The total of $3.12 billion was up from $2.65 billion a week earlier. The figure does not include a $20 billion fund that BP created last month for gulf damages. The company is also billing partners Anadarko Petroleum and Japan's Mitsui for their shares of the cleanup. BP has billed Anadarko, a 25 percent stakeholder in the blown-out well, for more than a quarter billion dollars so far. It also has reportedly billed Mitsui, a 10 percent partner, for $111 million.

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