Feds send economic development teams to Florida to help oil spill recoveryby Dara Kam | August 16th, 2010
President Barack Obama’s administration has dispatched two teams to Florida to help the state recovery from the economic downturn caused by BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today announced he is spending $600,000 on 21 economic development teams to the Gulf Coast states, including Florida, impacted by the spill.
The teams, made up of business leaders, government officials and economists, will “conduct in-depth analyses of critical issues” faced by communities like those in the Pensacola region that have seen tourism drop by up to 40 percent in the aftermath of the spill.
The teams will offer recommendations for how to help revive the economy, according to a press release issued by the White House.
Information about where the Florida teams will be located was not available.
One University of Central Florida economist estimated that the oil spill may cost Florida up to $22 billion in lost tourism revenues.
At an economic roundtable in Metairie, La., Locke announced $31.3 million total in coastal restoration and economic development grants for Louisiana and the Gulf Coast.
“These grants are another sign of this administration’s commitment to help the Gulf Coast’s economy and environment recover in the wake of the BP oil spill,” Locke said.
Locke also announced a $30.7 million restoration grant to the Louisiana Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration by the Department of Commerce’s NOAA to fund the restoration of a critical barrier headland near Port Fourchon, La.