Sunday, May 16, 2010

FLORIDA DEEPWATER HORIZON RESPONSE MAY 16, 2010

Under the leadership of Governor Charlie Crist, the State Emergency Response Team and the 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.



Landfall Predictions:

· Deepwater Horizon continues to discharge an estimated 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons) per day.

· BP is evaluating numerous options to contain the oil discharge and is continuing efforts to drill a relief well.

· Winds/currents continue to keep the plume away from the Florida coast for at least the next 72 hours.

· Florida continues to monitor the location of the loop current and make preparations to safeguard the state’s shoreline.

· Floridians and visitors are reminded that the state’s beaches and other attractions remain open for public enjoyment.

· Impacts to Florida’s coastline could include, tar balls, oil sheen or tar mats. Should individuals observe oil on Florida’s coastline, report the incident to 1-866-448-5816.

· BP has opened four claims offices in Florida and expects to open an additional three offices later this week. Offices will be in operation seven days a week at the following locations:



Location
Office Hours
Open Date

Escambia County

3960 W. Navy Blvd.

Suite 16

Pensacola, FL 32507
8 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Seven days a week
May 13, 2010


Santa Rosa County

5668 Gulf Breeze Parkway

Unit B-9

Gulf Breeze, FL 32563
8 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Seven days a week
May 14, 2010


Okaloosa County

348 SW Miracle Strip Parkway

Suite 13

Ft. Walton Beach, FL 32548
8 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Seven days a week
May 15, 2010


Walton County

5008 US Highway 98W

Unit 6 & 7

Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459
8 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Seven days a week
May 16, 2010


Bay County

7938 Front Beach Road

Panama City Beach, FL 32408
8 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Seven days a week
May 17, 2010


Gulf County

106 Trade Circle

Suite A

Port St. Joe, FL 32456
8 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Seven days a week
May 18, 2010


Franklin County

194 14th Street

Suite 105

Apalachicola, FL 32320
8 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Seven days a week
May 19, 2010


· Walk-ins are welcomed. BP asks that calls be made to the claims hotline in advance at 1-800-440-0858 to expedite the process. After the initial call, a claims adjuster is estimated to call back in 48 to 72 hours.



State Actions:

· On May 14, 2010, Governor Charlie 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/.

· Businesses and individuals can now submit Innovative Technology Ideas, suggestions, or products by completing the following information: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon/files/inno_tech_evaluation.pdf.

Send the completed form and any other supporting documentation to Innovative.Technology@dep.state.fl.us.

· In response to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, Florida is providing video and audio Public Service Announcements. Learn more at: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon/media.htm.

· On May 12, 2010, Governor Charlie Crist directed DEP to issue an Emergency Final Order to accelerate preparedness and restoration in the 19 coastal counties under the Governor’s state-of-emergency Executive Orders.

o Government entities, BP and its contractors making emergency permit application requests pursuant to the Emergency Final Order can obtain DEP’s emergency application form at: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/beaches/publications/pdf/emergency/DEP73-303EmPerApp-w-insts.pdf

o The following link provides additional information about activities that may take place seaward of Coastal Construction Control Line: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/beaches/default.htm#DEEPWATER_HORIZON_-_Gulf_Oil_Spill.

· The Governor also requested $34.75 million from BP to enable VISIT FLORIDA to create an immediate marketing campaign. Learn more at:

http://www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon/files/govcristlocal_sbaletter_depefo.pdf

· On May 11, 2010, Governor Charlie Crist issued (Executive Order 10-101) creating an Economic Recovery Task Force to facilitate efforts by Florida businesses and industries in recovering from the loss of business and revenues due to the Deepwater Horizon incident.

· On May 10, 2010, Governor Charlie Crist and Attorney General Bill McCollum called on former Attorneys General Bob Butterworth and Jim Smith to chair a Legal Advisory Council to explore options relating to the Deepwater Horizon incident and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Press Release

· As of May 11, 2010 at 8:00 a.m. the Florida Oil Spill Information Line 1-888-337-3569 was activated to provide Floridians with response information and resources about the Deepwater Horizon oil incident 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).

· The State Emergency Operations Center remains activated at a Level 2 or Partial activation.

· 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 Saturday, May 15, revealed that air quality throughout the panhandle area was considered good based on the ozone and fine particulate matter (PM) measurements. “Good” air quality means the air is satisfactorily and air pollution poses little or no risk.



Boom Placement:

· To date, an estimated 200,700 feet of boom has been placed in Florida and an additional 48,930 is staged.

· Placement of boom is based on tides and where the oil is threatening, as well as direction given in 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: http://research.myfwc.com/features/view_article.asp?id=3482

· 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.


Health Effects:

· At this time, there are no indications of any health risks to Floridians due to the Deepwater Horizon incident. The Department of Health (DOH) 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. If contact occurs, wash the area with soap and water.

· 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. More information is available online at www.MyFWC.com/Fishing.

· The recreational red snapper season in the Gulf will remain closed until June 1. However, FWC will use federal funds to survey Gulf charter boat catches each week during the 53-day season to see if catch rates are lower than previously anticipated. If so, state and federal fisheries managers could use that information to determine if the season can be extended or if an additional period of harvest can be allowed later in the year. Learn more at: http://www.myfwc.com/RULESANDREGS/Saltwater_Regulations_RedSnapperIndex.htm.

· On May 7, 2010, NOAA modified and expanded the boundaries of the closed fishing area to better reflect the current location of the BP oil spill, and extended the fishing restriction until May 17, 2010. The closure affects commercial and recreational fishing in the oil-affected area of the Gulf of Mexico. Learn more at:

http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20100507_closure.html.

· 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. Untrained rescuers may cause more harm than good. Learn more at: http://www.myfwc.com/NEWSROOM/10/statewide/News_10_X_OilSpill2.htm.



Closures:

· Currently there are no Florida State Park or beach closures. Learn more about Florida State Parks at: www.floridastateparks.org.



Tourism:

· Florida’s pristine beaches and famed fishing grounds remain open to residents and visitors. Currently, there are no impacts to Florida’s more than 1260 miles of coastline and 825 miles of sandy beaches. Florida’s shores are clear and open for business.

· If planning a trip to the Sunshine State, VISIT FLORIDA, the state’s official tourism marketing organization, encourages visitors to check with local destinations in order to get the most up-to-date information.

· 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, allowing them to see first-hand whether or not an area is currently affected. The following link also provides helpful local links to check on the status of your Florida destination: http://www.visitflorida.com/florida_travel_advisory/.

· The Florida State Park website will be updated daily and will list any parks that may be impacted by the Deepwater Horizon Incident: http://www.floridastateparks.org/. Visitors with camping or cabin reservations will be notified if their stay will be impacted. If you have any questions, please call 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:

· Florida residents are discouraged from signing any documents provided to them in return for money from BP or anyone else until they know the extent of their loss, which may be significantly higher than the money being paid. These may be fraudulent or premature.

· 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 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In all circumstances, affected businesses should file a claim with BP via the hotline number – 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).



Volunteer Opportunities:

· The Governor’s Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service is encouraging Floridians and visitors to watch for oiled wildlife, vegetation, and beaches by becoming a Coast Watch volunteer. Learn more at www.volunteerfloridadisaster.org.

· Report injured or oiled animals to the Wildlife Distress Hotline: 1-866-557-1401.

· Report oiled shoreline to: 1-866-448-5816.

· 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 for information alerts on its website as well as a resources page containing fact sheets and tips. Learn more at: www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon.

· For a list of Unified Command, BP and Florida phone numbers, visit http://www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon/default.htm#numbers



For additional information regarding Florida’s response to the Deepwater Horizon incident, visit www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon, or follow us on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/FLDEPalert.

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