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FLORIDA’s Response to the Gulf Oil Spill by Dr. Tom Termotto
WordSmith | June 26, 2010 at 12:34 pmby
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State of Florida
PL-05 The Capitol
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
June 25, 2010
Dear Governor Crist:
We are writing this letter out of deep concern and apprehension about the “ginormous oil volcano” gushing in the Gulf of Mexico. None of us, and we represent environmental health advocacy groups from Florida and the USA, have ever seen anything like this catastrophe in terms of geographical size and environmental impact. We have been in contact with some of the most experienced and knowledgeable in this realm, as well as insiders within the oil spill control industry, and it is now apparent that we are in uncharted waters.
Our purpose here is not to delineate the causes or attribute responsibility, as those are quite obvious, and have been identified in previous correspondence to you. Our explicit intention is to voice our support for those initiatives that have been undertaken by the State toward remediation, mitigation and cleanup of this oil spill. We stand behind you, Governor Crist.
We request that a statewide conference, with global participation, be scheduled immediately to bring together the best and brightest, in order to resolve the unabated flow of oil into our precious Gulf and to consider contingency plans. Our discussions with those who faced the most challenging problems and repercussions pertaining to health, environment and daily living in the wake of the Exxon Valdez disaster clearly indicate a need for well thought out action plans, focused coordination and deliberate follow-through.
If the State of Florida does not respond to this request in a substantive, compelling and expeditious manner, We, The People, are ready to take action. It is obvious that this is the Big One for our neck of the woods, as Haiti, Chile and Iceland have experienced theirs this year. We will not wait for the federal government to act this time, as the consequences of inaction are too great, and will have far-reaching ramifications for the oceans of the world.
Surprisingly, it really does not take that much oil to pollute a cubic mile of sea water, and according to BP’s own estimate published today, the flow at the wellhead could be producing well over 2.5 million gallons per day into the Gulf. The oil field that is now spilling was estimated to contain between fifty and one hundred million barrels, and potentially much more. Only a fraction of this would contaminate the entire Gulf of Mexico.
All of the recent computer modeling of ocean current flow has clearly demonstrated that it would not take very long for this oil to then contaminate the Atlantic Ocean after being carried by the Loop Current around the peninsula and captured by the Gulf Stream. It would then be just a matter of time before the Seven Seas are compromised by the slow motion pollution of this gushing well.
Tourism is the #1 industry in Florida and responsible for a significant amount of tax revenue. We wonder out loud what might happen to the State economy after our beautiful and cherished beaches are all covered with oil slicks, and the coral reefs are completely destroyed. The wetlands, marshes, estuaries, bayous and intra-coastal waterways will likewise suffer irreversible damage.
We are also concerned about the vulnerability of the Florida aquifer. And, especially about the entry of oil, methane and dispersant chemicals into the groundwater and infiltration of the water table. What will happen to Florida agriculture, the #2 industry in this State, when the water becomes contaminated by this soup of petrochemicals in the Gulf after the summer storms push them toward the shorelines and into the estuaries.
Of course, these very same chemicals will also be falling from above, as the rains carry much of this toxicity inland and across the entire peninsula of Florida. So, as you can plainly see, we have a very serious set of problems here. And only a deliberate, purposeful and well coordinated response will see us through this crisis in a successful and healthful way.
Governor Crist, we know that you will not let this disaster become our Katrina. We will not let this become our NOLA. We know that you will act, and we will follow you until we have surmounted these formidable obstacles together.
May the people of this great State of Florida join with those of our Gulf Coast neighbors and rise to these challenges in the spirit of true collaboration and mutual concern.
Dr. Tom Termotto, Co-Founder
Concerned Citizens of Florida
Board of Directors
Coalition Against Chemical Trespass
Cc: Alex Sink, Florida Chief Financial Officer
Bill McCollum, Florida Attorney General
Florida State Senate
Florida House of Representatives
The Honorable Bill Nelson
The Honorable George LeMieux
Jeff Kottkamp, Lieutenant Governor
Kathy Mears, Deputy Chief of Staff
Melinda Miguel, Chief Inspector General
Pat Gleason, Special Counsel for Open Government
Michael W. Sole, Secretary, Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Ana M. Viamonte Ross, State Surgeon General, Florida Department of Health
Charles H. Bronson, Commissioner, Florida Department of Agriculture
Warren Davis, Director of Citizens Services
Robert Wheeler, General Counsel
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