Ever go to the beach and not think of slapping together a sand castle? And who doesn't enjoy the feeling of wet, warm sand between her toes?
According to federal authorities who recently intercepted an oil-hunting reporter on a Florida beach, those activities have been deemed "illegal."
The officers' legal revelation (which is not actually true) came as something of a surprise to Dan Thomas, reporter for WEAR ABC 3 in Pensacola, Florida, who was visiting the Gulf Islands National Seashore for a special report.
Shovel men at the ready, it did not take Thomas long to uncover splotches of oily crude less than a foot below the surface. Within seconds, his report had shown that BP's cleanup efforts, which have been limited to just the top six inches of sand in most cases, are not entirely effective.
That's when a representative of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service showed up, demanding he produce a permit to use shovels on a public beach.
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"Are you digging for oil product?" the official asked. When Thomas did not immediately confirm his intentions, the man threatened to call law enforcement and advised the journalist to move down the beach.
Moments later, an officer of the National Parks Service was demanding the reporter identify himself, insisting over and over, "you can't dig."
"So, no sand castles?" Thomas asked. "None of that, huh?"
"You're right," the officer replied.
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