‘Daunting’ oil spill will wind up in court, AG says; BP pledges to pick up tabby Dara Kam | May 3rd, 2010
Florida officials are ramping up preparation for the massive oil spill looming off the state’s Panhandle coastline.
“The magnitude of this spill is daunting,” state Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Mike Sole said at a press conference early this morning.
“There is a great concern on our part with people who may go out in advance of any oil coming at all and try to get some hold harmeless agreement, either BP or some other potentially liable party,” McCollum said. “We also don’t’ want anybody to get ripped off by scam artists.”
McCollum said that the spill will certainly wind up in court.
“Certainly at some point in time there will be litigation. There will be damages to the environment…There are going to be economic damages to the state of FLorida…We do have a tourist industry and we do have losses of income and industry if the oil plume does reach the shore,” he said.
McCollum met yesterday with attorneys general from Alabama and Mississippi in Mobile.
BP has laid out 79,000 feet of boom to protect the Pensacola Bay region, where commercial fishing has already halted, but has yet to place the protective barriers off the six Panhandle counties to the east, Sole said.
The British oil company has pledged to pick up the tab for any costs associated with the spill, McCollum and Sole said. Sole said he expects early estimates of the economic impact on the state later this afternoon.
“BP has assured us that they’re going to cover the cost whatever it is,” Sole said.
Numerous state agencies are involved in estimating those costs, including the health and transportation departments, the Fish and Wildlife Commission and others.
State officials plan to submit a claim to the federal government for compensation, Sole said.
Sole said the 500,000 gallons spewing daily from the underwater well could create havoc as far as the Atlantic Ocean if the spill intersects with the Gulf flow in the Gulf of Mexico.
“It may go offshore, the bad news is it may come back onshore,” he said.