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Still Unclear whether South Florida will remain Unblemished from Oil Spill

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Wed, Jun 09, 2010 at 12:27PM

As of now South Florida and the Keys have avoided any oil from the tragic spill on April 20th.  South Florida and the Keys are home to world-class natural treasures and multibillion dollar tourist industries but currents churning in the Gulf still could bring some oil.   

Concerned about the impact of the Panhandle tar balls on vacation plans, particularly for travelers who don't know Florida geography, tourism groups began ad campaigns directing the public to websites with cameras that show all other Florida beaches to be clean. It is unclear whether South Florida will remain unblemished, as oil continued pouring from the ocean floor, replenishing the rust-colored slicks on the surface of the Gulf.  A significant but unknown amount of oil is suspended beneath the surface, at depths of hundreds or thousands of feet.  Scientists say these undersea plumes could constitute a significant threat to the state's environment, but they can't say how much oil is there, where it is and where the ocean currents could take it.  

The loop current, the ocean pathway that could bring oil from the Gulf to the Keys and up the southeast Florida coast, has been disrupted by eddies, with one pinching off the small amount of oil that had been caught in the current.  But scientists say the current eventually will re-establish itself, and that South Florida's reprieve may not last.

Gov. Charlie Crist sent a letter to Lamar McKay, president of BP America, requesting $100 million to pay for a system to monitor oil slicks and currents, as well as to improve oil-spill recovery technology.


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