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Crist sets oil plan, gets additional $25 million for BP cleanup; emergency loan program

Governor Charlie Crist today signed a memorandum of understanding with BP, committing an additional $25-million block grant for state preparation and response costs to combat the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The grant follows Governor Crist’s June 3rd request for additional funding from BP to support recovery efforts.

“This additional funding will continue Florida’s efforts to respond in a timely manner to guard our shores and natural resources from the potential impacts of this disaster,” Governor Crist said. “Our state team continues to work daily to protect our beaches and the health and well-being of our residents and visitors.”

Yesterday, Governor Crist provided the opening remarks at a meeting of the Gulf Oil Spill Economic Recovery Task Force. The Governor called on task force members to use their experience and expertise to develop strategies to reduce the impact to Florida’s environment and economy. Created by Executive Order 10-101, the task force will facilitate efforts by Florida businesses and industries in recovering from lost business and revenues due to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Crist also enacted emergency bridge loans for businesses impacted by the oil spill.

The Florida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program provides an expedient cash flow to businesses which are physically or economically damaged by a major catastrophe. The short-term loans help bridge the gap between the time the catastrophe hits and when a business secures other resources, including profits from a revived business, payment of claims, or longer-term loans.

The Governor has allocated $5 million from General Revenue to fund the bridge loan program.  The appropriation is made through a budget amendment pursuant to the Governor’s emergency declaration.

Florida’s Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program was first activated in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew in an effort to provide short-term emergency funding to businesses in need of immediate cash flow. Since then, the program has minimized the economic impacts of the Winter Storm of 1993, the Northwest Florida Floods of 1994, and Hurricanes Opal, Georges, Charley, Frances, Ivan, Jeanne, Dennis and Wilma.

Short-term loans of up to $25,000 will be available to owners of small businesses (less than 100 employees) in counties impacted the recent oil spill. The interest-free loans come in terms of 12 month maturities. To be eligible, a business owner must have been operational for one full year prior to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill on April 20, 2010, and demonstrate physical damage or economic injury as a result of the oil spill.

Applications for businesses will be available Monday, June 14, 2010. To receive an application or more information on the program, please contact the Governor’s Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development at (850) 487-2568, or the Florida First Capital Finance Corporation ( at (850) 681-3601.

The Emergency Bridge Loan program authorized today is in addition to a federal loan program that was requested by Governor Crist and approved by the U.S. Commerce Secretary on May 14, 2010. The federal Economic Injury Disaster Loan can help eligible small businesses meet the necessary financial obligations they could have met, had the disaster not occurred. Interest rates for businesses and small agricultural cooperatives are as low as four percent, and for non-profit organizations rates are as low as three percent, with terms up to 30 years.  Affected business owners can visit the SBA Web site for more information on this program at

Crist also appointed Steve Yerrid as Special Counsel to work pro bono regarding the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Yerrid, an expert in maritme law, successfully defended the harbor pilot in the Sunshine Skyway Bridge tragedy of 1980 and later worked on Florida’s legal team assembled by Governor Lawton Chiles to negotiate the tobacco settlement achieved in 1997. He is a graduate of Louisiana State University and Georgetown University Law Center.

Some of the steps enacted to protect Florida’s beaches include reconnaissance missions. These reconnaissance missions that started last week are being conducted from Perdido Key in Escambia County to Cape San Blas in Gulf County. Search areas are divided into approximately five-mile increments, with all terrain vehicles (ATVs) patrolling the coastline looking for any evidence of land-falling oil products. Boats are patrolling the gulf waters in these areas looking for evidence of oil sheen or other oil byproducts, and air assets are evaluating waters out to nine miles from shore daily and further when directed. When evidence of oil is detected, the reconnaissance teams quickly report their findings back to the State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee. Then teams hired by the responsible party, BP, can be dispatched to the impacted areas through Unified Command in Mobile, Alabama, to perform cleanup, skimming or other mitigation measures in a timely fashion.

The aerial teams are equipped with cameras that geocode the location of what are believed to be impacts from the oil spill. Aerial teams then send images to the State Emergency Operations Center, so they can be mapped and relayed to response teams who are deployed to that location to take appropriate actions. The attached map shows the area of operations, flight patterns and where the state’s assets are deployed in these five-mile zones and actively working to mitigate the impacts of oil on Florida’s beaches.

Two plans created by the United States Coast Guard, BP and the impacted states, including Florida, outline the steps for shoreline assessment and cleanup to ensure quick and efficient response to oil on our shores. Those plans include The Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Team (SCAT) Plan and the Mobile Sector Near Shore and Shoreline Stage I and II Response Plan.

The SCAT Plan outlines the role of SCAT teams and provides a process for collecting shoreline oil data used to create cleanup plans. SCAT teams consist of trained representatives from BP, the federal government and the state. The response plan addresses response in three stages: recovering oil in the water, placing boom and other protective measures along the most sensitive areas of Florida’s coastline, and cleaning up any oil that does impact Florida’s shores as quickly as possible, both while the oil discharge continues from Deepwater Horizon and after the leak is stopped.

The first stage of response involves oil removal from near shore waters using skimming devices, vacuum systems, booming and other appropriate methods. These removal methods are currently being used to prevent oil from reaching Florida’s shoreline. Approximately 261,250 feet of boom has been placed in Florida along the most sensitive areas of the Panhandle, and several counties in the western tip of the Panhandle are moving forward with supplemental booming plans.

The second stage of the response plan outlines the cleanup methods for a variety of habitats, including beaches, marshes, and man-made structures such as docks and pilings. Boom will likely not prevent tar balls, tar mats and very sticky weathered oil from washing onshore. Therefore, the most feasible cleanup method in this stage is manual removal of oil with hand tools or mechanical equipment used by authorized and trained individuals. The third stage is intended to finalize shoreline cleanup in habitats that may be adversely affected by oil after the leak is stopped.

BP has contracted with Waste Management Services (WM) for removal of waste generated from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. This plan has been approved by the Unified Command in Mobile with input from the State of Florida. Learn more about treatment and disposal options here (

For the most up-to-date information on Florida’s Deepwater Horizon response, as well as health and safety tips, visit For information on the Gulf Oil Spill Economic Recovery Task Force, go to

Related posts:

  1. Crist asks for $100 million from BP for cleanup and research
  2. Obama sends $69 million bill to BP for oil cleanup
  3. Governor Crist Offers Guidelines for Reporting Oil Spill Impacts in Florida
  4. Crist requests Increased Assistance to Prepare for Oil Spill
  5. Oil spill enters the loop current, Broward coastal cities meet to develop emergency plan

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Posted by AdamF on Jun 10 2010. Filed under Broward County, Emerging Green, Fort Lauderdale, Local news, Oil, Tallahassee. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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