Under the leadership of Governor Charlie Crist, the State Emergency Response Team and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) are actively coordinating and responding to the Deepwater Horizon incident.
The following is a summary of state and BP response actions to date, as well as tips for residents and visitors to take precautions both pre and post-landfall.
· Winds/currents continue to keep the plume away from the Florida coast for at least the next 72 hours.
· Latest observations by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) indicate that a small portion of the oil slick has reached the Loop Current in the form of light sheens. NOAA oceanographers release updated trajectory maps showing the predicted trajectory of the oil slick. Learn more at the NOAA website.
· Impacts to Florida’s coastline could include tar balls, oil sheen or tar mats. If oil is sighted on Florida’s coastline report it to the State Warning Point at 1-877-2-SAVE-FL (1-877-272-8335) or by dialing #DEP from most cell phones.
On Site Actions:
· Deepwater Horizon continues to discharge more than 5,000 barrels per day.
· BP continues to evaluate numerous options to contain the oil discharge and is continuing efforts to drill a relief well.
· On May 20, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) directed BP to identify and use a less toxic dispersant from the list of EPA authorized dispersants.
o Dispersants are a chemical used to break up oil into small droplets so that they are more easily degraded. This chemical works best on fresh oil, and is most useful at the source of the discharge from Deepwater Horizon.
· At this time, there are no plans to use dispersants in Florida. If dispersants are ever considered in state waters, the determination to use the chemical would be evaluated by DEP with input from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Florida Wildlife Research Institute and EPA.
· The State Emergency Operations Center remains activated at a Level 2 or Partial activation.
· Governor Charlie Crist has issued three Executive Orders since April 30, 2010 declaring a state of emergency in 26 coastal counties that may see impacts from the incident.
· On May 14, 2010, Governor Crist announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) approved disaster loan funds for businesses along Florida’s Gulf coast that have been impacted by the Deepwater Horizon incident. (Press Release) Learn more at: http://www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance/.
· On May 12, 2010, Governor Crist directed DEP to issue an Emergency Final Order to accelerate preparedness and restoration in the counties under the Governor’s state-of-emergency Executive Orders.
· BP has opened eight claims offices in Florida. Visit the BP Claims Page to learn more.
· DEP conducted water and sediment sampling to use as a baseline and is monitoring air quality data. Statewide air quality monitoring is conducted in coordination with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Learn more at http://www.airnow.gov/ or http://www.epa.gov/bpspill/.
o Air quality reports for Sunday, May 23, revealed that air quality was considered good for ozone and particulate matter throughout the North Florida coastal area. “Good” means the air quality is satisfactory and air pollution poses little or no risk.
· To date, an estimated 259,950 feet of boom has been placed in Florida and an additional 11,400 is staged.
· Placement of boom is based where the oil is threatening, as well as each region’s area contingency plan.
o To view the Coast Guard Mobile Area Contingency Plan visit: http://ocean.floridamarine.org/ACP/MOBACP/StartHere.html.
o To view the Coast Guard St. Petersburg Area Contingency Plan visit:
· The Unified Command Operations Group is asking boaters to avoid damaging boom. Boom cut or broken due to boater traffic jeopardizes the protection that has been set up for the environmentally sensitive areas across the coast.
· Stolen or misplaced boom should be reported to local authorities.
· At this time, there are no indications of any health risks to Floridians due to the Deepwater Horizon incident. The Department of Health and DEP are closely monitoring health and environmental impacts to Florida’s beaches and will notice an advisory if conditions become unsafe.
· For most people, an occasional brief contact with a small amount of oil, while not recommended, will do no harm. Learn more at: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon/files/faq_doh_051010.pdf
Fisheries & Seafood:
· The fisheries, wildlife and seafood off of Florida’s coast in state waters are safe and there are no alerts at this time. Press Release Florida saltwater fishing regulations remain in effect as usual. Learn more at www.MyFWC.com/Fishing.
· On May 21, 2010, NOAA modified and expanded the boundaries of the closed federal fishing area until further notice. More than 80 percent of the fishing area remains open. Learn more at: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/deepwater_horizon_oil_spill.htm
· Fishermen who wish to contact BP about a claim should call 1-800-440-0858.
· FWC urges citizens to report oiled wildlife to the Wildlife Distress Hotline at 1-866-557-1401.
· For the safety of the public as well as the safety of animals, rescues should be conducted by trained responders. Learn more at: http://www.myfwc.com/NEWSROOM/10/statewide/News_10_X_OilSpill2.htm
· Currently, there are no impacts to Florida’s more than 1,260 miles of coastline and 825 miles of sandy beaches.
· Through www.VISITFLORIDA.com, vacationers are able to view live Twitter feeds and read up-to-the-minute information on the status of any city or region in Florida. Learn more at http://www.visitflorida.com/florida_travel_advisory/.
· The Florida State Parks website, http://www.floridastateparks.org, will be updated daily and will list any parks that may be impacted. Visitors with camping or cabin reservations will be notified if their stay will be impacted. Learn more by calling 1-850-245-2157.
Tips for Homeowners:
· While the state appreciates the concern expressed by Floridians and the ingenuity of those seeking alternative measures to help protect the state’s shoreline, the following tips are offered to ensure that these measures are helpful and not harmful to Florida’s coasts, wildlife and water resources: Tips for homeowners.
Tips for Businesses and Consumers:
· The Attorney General’s fraud hotline is open to receive any reports of fraud or price gouging. The hotline is 1-866-966-7226.
· The Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner gas price-gouging hotline is also operational. The toll-free hotline number is 1-800-HELP-FLA (1-800-435-7352).
· Florida’s coastal businesses should be prepared to make loss of earnings claims for damages incurred as a result of the oil spill. Affected businesses should file a claim with BP via the hotline number at 1-800-440-0858 or claims office. Learn more at http://www.myfloridacfo.com/ or by calling 1-850-413-3089 or toll-free at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236).
· The Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service is encouraging Floridians and visitors to become a Coast Watch volunteer. Learn more at www.volunteerfloridadisaster.org.
· Report a change in Air Quality to http://www.epa.gov/bpspill/.
· For information on scheduled beach cleanups and other volunteer opportunities, visit http://www.volunteerfloridadisaster.org/.
· BP has established a volunteer program and set up a toll-free number for those interested in volunteering. Learn more by calling BP’s community information line at 1-866-448-5816.
Learn More About Florida’s Response:
· DEP launched a Twitter account, www.Twitter.com/FLDEPalert, dedicated to providing updates on Florida’s response to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
· DEP in coordination with the state Emergency Operations Center established an email sign-up and a comprehensive website at www.deepwaterhorizonflorida.com.
· For a list of Unified Command, BP and Florida phone numbers, visit http://www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon/default.htm#numbersThe Oil Spill Information Line is available at 1-888-337-3569 from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. seven days a week. Additional phone numbers have also been established for persons with disabilities: (800) 955-8771 (TDD) or (800) 955-8770 (voice).