Guest blog by Linda Young, Director of the Clean Water Network of Florida
Sen. Nelson has been very critical of the command and control structure for the oil disaster. The Coast Guard has had 51% of the control (BP has the rest) and they have been essentially dysfunctional. The situation reached crisis level last week when the oil entered Perdido Pass and NOT ONE of the local governments were given any warning. This means that the Coast Guard was not even watching the oil from helicopters and reporting its proximity to shore.
It is taking an incredible amount of time for local governments to get the help and answers that they need. After 7 weeks, Escambia County in Florida has finally received the heavy equipment that it requested from BP, which will be used to clean up the oil once it hits the shore. An upper-level Escambia County administrator told me that the county has not received a single penny from the state or federal government or BP to date to pay for protecting their shores or waters or to cover the cost of dealing with this disaster. He told the reporters that the rest of the state still has time to get ready before the oil reaches their shores and they should get ready.
If you are reading this blogpost and you live beyond the panhandle in the Gulf, please urge your local government take action!
The big unknown right now is what lies below the surface of the ocean. We know from University of South Florida research that there are large plumes under the surface of the water which are moving far and wide. Interestingly, the oil tends to float in the day time when it’s warm outside and then at night it tends to sink to the bottom.
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