Miami command post for oil opens as Klein questions BP on oil spill
Representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Department of the Interior, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, and BP started a Florida Peninsula Command Post in Miami Thursday.
This command post provides a command and control structure to plan and deliver oil spill preparedness and response activities across the Florida Peninsula should they be needed. It reports to the Unified Area Command in Robert, La., and ensures comprehensive monitoring and detection capabilities, people, equipment and processes to quickly respond to pollution threats to the Florida Peninsula from the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill.
During the two weeks of planning and preparation leading to the stand up, the Florida Peninsula Command Post initiated an offshore monitoring system. A Sentry Vessel program and regular aerial surveys have helped confirm that, at this time, the threat of weathered oil-related impacts on the Florida Peninsula and Florida Keys remains extremely low. Only a small and isolated section of light oil sheen has been identified more than 200 miles west of the Florida Peninsula coast. There have been no reports of Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill-related products reaching shore in the Florida Peninsula.
As part of the Florida Peninsula Command Post, a Branch structure will remain in St. Petersburg, Fla., covering Taylor, Dixie, Levy,
Citrus, Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee, and Collier counties, and Key West, Fla., covering Monroe county, to provide robust outreach and response operations to local communities. Branches in Miami covering Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties, and Jacksonville covering all other Florida coastal counties are being established to augment existing outreach response operations in these counties.
Response efforts for counties located in the western pan handle area which includes Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Gulf, Walton, Franklin, Wakulla, and Jefferson Counties will continue to be coordinated out of the Mobile Incident Command Post.
Meanwhile, Congressman Ron Klein (FL-22) today fired questions at BP Vice Presidents Ray Dempsey and Darryl Willis about the Gulf oil spill. Klein zeroed in on the impact of the spill on tourism in Florida and especially economic damage to local businesses, like JB’s on the Beach.
“My question for BP is simple: what are you going to do to make local businesses, property owners and taxpayers in our community whole again?” Klein said after the meeting. “I am not going to rest until every single business, family and property owner hurt by BP’s reckless and dangerous behavior is compensated. It is appalling that BP would spend $50 million on TV ads trying to repair their own image when they only spent half that amount funding ads for Florida tourism. The last thing BP should be worried about right now is its own image – I’d say that is already shot. They should put every possible dollar towards compensating for losses due to the spill, and that includes hotels, restaurants, boat operators and more along the 75 miles of coast in my district.”
BP executives came to Capitol Hill to meet with members of the Florida delegation. Klein took advantage of the opportunity to demand answers on behalf of constituents who depend on pristine coastlines and tourists to support their livelihood. Klein has spoken directly with many local homeowners and businesses since the spill, including charter boat operators and restaurant owners in Deerfield Beach.
“I saw the oil spill first-hand as part of a nine-hour scientific research mission,” said Klein, who flew over the spill in a NOAA WP-3D Orion aircraft last month. “Let me tell you, that spill is a disaster of epic proportions. In addition to the oil slick in the Gulf, we’re seeing tarballs on the Panhandle beaches and undersea plumes 40-plus miles away from the site of the spill. Even though oil hasn’t washed up on the Atlantic coast yet, local hotels and restaurants could lose millions in summer tourist revenue from visitors cancelling their trips to South Florida.
“BP needs to get its act together pronto and commit to spending whatever is necessary to stop the leak, clean up the oil that has already spilled and make homeowners and businesses along the coast whole. The full cost of this disaster is BP’s responsibility, and taxpayers should not have to pay one thin dime.”
Also, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that the Department of Energy is providing online access to schematics, pressure tests, diagnostic results and other data about the malfunctioning blowout preventer.
Secretary Chu insisted on making the data widely available to ensure the public is as informed as possible, and to ensure that outside experts making recommendations have access to the same information that BP and the government have. The site will be updated with additional data soon.
“Transparency is not only in the public interest, it is part of the scientific process,” said Secretary Chu. “We want to make sure that independent scientists, engineers and other experts have every opportunity to review this information and make their own conclusions.”
The information is posted at www.energy.gov. It includes detailed raw data on the pressure readings within the blowout preventer, as well as rates and amounts of hydrocarbons captured by the top hat and by the riser insertion tube. There is also a timeline of key events and detailed summaries of the Deepwater well configuration, the blowout preventer stack tubes, and the containment system.
-Click here to read a letter from National Incident Commander Admiral Thad Allen to BP CEO Tony Hayward.
For information about the response effort, visit www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com.
- Coast Guard says tarballs found on keys not from BP oil spill
- Photos tell the story of Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill
- Oil spill causes state of emergency in Florida
- Crist requests Increased Assistance to Prepare for Oil Spill
- Feds launch new Restore the Gulf Website
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