Governor Charlie Crist, continuing his commitment to recovery efforts in the Gulf of Mexico, today visited Pensacola Beach to evaluate the impact thus far of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on the coastline of the Florida Panhandle. The Governor participated in a Pensacola Beach shoreline and aerial inspection with Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Mike Major General Douglas Burnett of the Florida National Guard, and Gulf-Coast native and music legend Jimmy Buffett.
“We continue to closely and diligently monitor the shoreline and remain prepared to respond to any and all impacts we may be confronted with,” said Governor Crist. “I am proud and grateful for the efforts of our first responders, including the Departments of Environmental Protection and Emergency Management and the Florida National Guard, for their perseverance and dedication to ensuring Florida is ready.”
The Governor toured Pensacola Beach by land and air to observe firsthand the condition of the Panhandle coastline. Gulf-Coast native and musician, Jimmy Buffett, accompanied Governor Crist during both inspections and expressed his solidarity with the Gulf Coast states as disaster relief efforts proceed.
Continuing to ensure Florida is prepared for possible impacts from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Governor Crist yesterday requested $100 million to cover the costs of the critical and time sensitive response to threats from the oil spill to Florida’s seabed, water column, surface and shoreline. The funds would support the efforts of the Florida Institute of Oceanography, a partnership of 21 universities and other marine science organizations throughout Florida. Governor Crist yesterday also announced his request for a Fishery Failure Determination for Florida has been granted by the United States Department of Commerce. By granting the Governor’s request, impacted fisherman and affected businesses can now qualify for economic injury loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration. Earlier this week, the Governor also requested an additional $50 million to cover the costs of ongoing preparedness efforts required to brace additional miles of Florida’s coastline for the oil’s imminent impact.