Deepwater Horizon county action response Update #11
Wednesday, 12 May 2010 05:09
Last Updated on Thursday, 13 May 2010 03:15
- Winds/currents are expected to continue to keep the plume away from the Florida coast for at least the next 72 hours.
- The loop current is far south of the oil and there is no imminent threat that the oil will be picked up by the loop current. However, Santa Rosa County and the State of Florida continue to make preparations to safeguard the state's shoreline.
- According to the NOAA oil plume model, the oil spill is 90 miles southwest of Pensacola, 179 miles from Port St. Joe, and 322 miles from St. Petersburg.
- A BP claims office in Santa Rosa County is expected to open by Saturday, May 15. Contact information will be announced as soon as it is available.
- The Florida Emergency Information Line (FEIL) has been closed and the Florida Oil Spill Information Line (FOSIL) opened, which will be available from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. EDT daily at (888) 337-3569.
- Those near Florida's Gulf Coast may detect an odor because of the oil spill. Some people are more sensitive to these odors and may experience nasal irritation and feelings of nausea. In combination with seasonal allergies, such as sensitivity to pollen or pre-existing respiratory conditions such as asthma, some people may experience more severe symptoms.
o Individuals experiencing symptoms that are aggravated by the odors from the oil spill should consider:
o Staying indoors, in air conditioning, and avoiding strenuous outdoor activity.
o If symptoms do not improve, contact a primary care physician or other health care provider for medical advice.
o Individuals who have pre-existing medical conditions, such as asthma or other respiratory illness should contact their health care provider if feeling symptomatic.
- At this time, there are no indications of any health risks to Floridians due to the Deepwater Horizon incident. The Department of Health and DEP are closely monitoring health and environmental impacts to Florida's beaches and will notice an advisory if conditions become unsafe.
- Statewide air quality monitoring is ongoing in coordination with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Individuals concerned about air quality issues can view an up-to-date map with pollutant concentrations at www.santarosa.fl.gov/oilspill or www.airnow.gov, or they can report suspected changes in air quality at http://www.epa.gov/bpspill/.
- Santa Rosa County beaches are open. Two links to live Web cams are now available at www.santarosa.fl.gov.
Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Business Survey #2
- Local businesses are strongly encouraged to take the Florida State Emergency Response Team's Business Impact survey to help assess the economic effects of the Deepwater Horizon Event to our area and the state. The information provided is critical to decisions that will be made to assist businesses impacted by this event.
- The survey can be found at www.santarosa.fl.gov/oilspill or http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/37NF5BL
- Approximately 175,950 feet of boom has been placed out of the Pensacola and Panama City staging areas in support of Unified Command.
- 5,200 feet were placed on May 10.
- Florida staging areas have 66,000 feet staged and 360,000 feet ordered.
- Maps of the U.S. Coast Guard's booming strategy, including overall locations and a priority listing, are available online at www.santarosa.fl.gov/oilspill.
Actions Taken By Santa Rosa County
- Submitted a 30-day cost projection of county expenses to FDEM.
- Funding agreements between the state and Santa Rosa County is being finalized.
- A disposal/cleanup plan is being finalized with FDEM.
- A representative from WRS Infrastructure and Environment, Inc., a contractor for FDEM was assigned to Santa Rosa County to evaluate our county's protection efforts and provide Santa Rosa with a written tactical and operational protection plan for our area including booming, skimming and monitoring of the approved booming locations.
- The County has retained a consulting team to evaluate shoreline protection and shoreline restoration methodologies. These systems include technologies ranging from containment booms, vacuum systems, and various forms of absorbents.
- Established a process for reviewing protection requests.
- Emergency management staff has identified long and short term objectives, to include but not limited to:
o Continue coordinating training needed for workers and volunteers to participate in clean-up & coordinate training opportunities.
o Update priority list for boom requests to unified command.
o Request BP to establish a claims/information office in Navarre, which was denied.
o Follow up on air, water and sediment quality baseline tests.
o Monitor water for oil or affected wildlife.
o Document local resources used.
o Research and track financial impacts and tourism
o Prepare contingency plan for response to protect Santa Rosa resources
o Monitor requests made to unified command
- Santa Rosa County is working with professional animal service organizations to coordinate response activities for animals affected by any oil on our coast.
- A local state of emergency was declared at 3 p.m., Friday, April 30, allowing the county to implement proactive measures as needed. On May 7, the board of county commissioners extended this order through May 14. Further extensions can be declared as needed.
- Emergency management officials continue to participate in the unified command and State of Florida Department of Emergency Management conference calls to obtain the latest information to plan our role accordingly.
- Pre-qualified debris contractors and environmental engineering consultants have been contacted and are ready to respond as required.
- The EOC is activated at a level 2, or partial activation with essential staff, from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. until further notice.
Proposed Booming Strategy
- Unified command, DEP and FDEM have approved the placement of a boom at the mouth of the East River. The boom will be placed by crews under the director of unified command.
- On May 7, the booming of the bridges strategy proposed by Santa Rosa County was denied. A new protection plan, which much more aggressively approaches the managing of the spill at the Pensacola Pass and the basin immediately adjacent to NAS Pensacola, was proposed by DEP and FDEM in conjunction with Santa Rosa County.
- Within 72 hours of expected impact, this plan would place three additional directional booms inland of the pass, but within the NAS basin to capture and direct any oil into that basin. This would be coupled with pre-positioned skimmers that would aggressively collect any oil collected by the booming.
- Santa Rosa County officials believe that this aggressive approach at the point of entry would provide much better protection for Gulf Breeze and the entire bay system.
- This plan has been approved by unified command.
State forms Legal Advisory Council for Oil Spill
- Governor Charlie Crist and Attorney General Bill McCollum called on former Attorneys General Bob Butterworth and Jim Smith to chair a Legal Advisory Council to explore options relating to the Deepwater Horizon incident and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The legal advisory team will bring together private-sector attorneys and other experts who will use their expertise to begin assessing the impact the potential disaster could have on Florida.
- The Legal Advisory Council will work with state agencies to prepare for any future litigation, enforcement, or regulatory action that may be needed. The group will focus on gathering information and strategies relating to the following:
o Protection of the rights of Florida consumers and businesses.
o Actions that the State of Florida can initiate now.
o Data and information collection and preservation.
o Prompt compliance to information requests by BP, Transocean, Halliburton and other companies.
o Strategies and theories for future legal action.
BP Training for Volunteers, Contractors & Paraprofessionals
- A schedule and a description of all training available for volunteers, contractors and paraprofessionals are available at www.santarosa.fl.gov/oilspill.
o All oil-contaminated materials will only be handled by trained, paid workers and not by volunteers.
o Only training module 1 would be applicable for volunteers.
o The BP training modules 2, 3 & 4 are of use primarily to individuals interested in employment and not volunteers.
o Volunteers should support the oil cleanup effort through appropriate activities such as Coast Watch (see next page), pre-landfall beach cleanups, fundraising, and meeting other needs of responding organizations.
- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Tri-State have designated a Paraprofessional Coordinator to compile a list and organize scheduling of potential responders providing the information requested below. Paraprofessionals located within the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Texas will have first preference in scheduling and will be scheduled for efforts located within their home state. If you are located outside of these states and are interested in providing wildlife assistance, please submit the same requested information. All responders will be contacted by the PPC when their assistance is needed.
- Please direct inquires or any calls about your interest in providing wildlife assistance to
or to (404)679-7049.
- A paraprofessional is defined as individuals who:
o Either possess, or works directly under a person possessing, an active permit or authorization related to the species to be worked on;
o Are affiliated with a wildlife organization working within the Wildlife Branch of the Incident Command structure, or a staff member of a wildlife Trustee agency;
o Agrees to work under, and abide by, appropriate planning documents prepared by the Unified Command (such as Site Safety Plan, Incident Action Plan, public affairs requirement, etc.) and
o Have a working knowledge and experience (at least 3 months) with the general protocol, procedures and safety hazards associated with working on the species of question.
- State rehabilitation organizations, permitted wildlife rehabilitation organizations or private rehabilitators can help now by providing the following information if you would be available to assist in the oil spill response efforts. You must include your name, address, including city and state, phone number (prefer cell phone and alternate numbers), email address, if you have prior oil spill experience, and how far you can travel, as well as:
o If you are a rehabilitator with at least 6 months of experience;
o What species you have experience with, i.e. wading birds, raptors, pelagic seabirds, waterfowl, etc. It would also be beneficial to know if you are a veterinarian or an avian veterinarian, a veterinary technician, or a well-seasoned rehabilitator;
o If you have a minimum of 4 hours of HAZCOM certification (see Santa Rosa County BP Training Schedule at www.santarosa.fl.gov/oilspill );
o If you have Rabies pre-exposure shots;
o Your availability. (This can be a rough estimate by identifying dates available)
Coast Watchers/Volunteer Registration
The Governor's Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service is encouraging Floridians and visitors to watch for oiled wildlife, vegetation, and beaches by becoming a Coast Watch volunteer.
- The Coast Watchers will assist BP, the state of Florida and partnering organizations in identifying beaches that need attention.
- Coast Watchers will work within the coastal communities where they live or visit and commit to do the following:
o Report injured or oiled animals to the Wildlife Distress Hotline: 1-866-557-1401.
o Report oiled shoreline to: 1-866-448-5816.
o Report a change in Air Quality to: http://www.epa.gov/bpspill/.
- For information on scheduled beach cleanups and other volunteer opportunities, visit www.VolunteerFlorida.org.
- To become a part of the Santa Rosa County volunteer database for volunteer opportunities that may arise, contact the Volunteer Reception Center operated through Help Thy Neighbors in coordination with emergency management at (850) 983-5223.
State of Florida's Guidance for Protecting Florida's Shoreline from Oil Spill Impacts for Homeowners
While the state appreciates the concern expressed by Floridians and the ingenuity of those seeking alternative measures to help protect the state's shoreline, the following tips are offered to ensure that these measures are helpful and not harmful to Florida's coasts, wildlife and water resources:
- Homeowners may be able to help prevent oil from reaching private property or damaging sensitive vegetation by utilizing absorbent booms.
- Booming and alternative absorption measures should be coordinated through the county and state Emergency Operation Centers since incorrect boom placement in navigable waterways can create a serious hazard.
- Coordination with state and local entities is important to ensure that booming or alternative measures being used do not impede navigation and are not more harmful to the natural environment in the long-run.
- If a boom is placed by a private citizen, that individual assumes responsibility for the boom, including the chance it could dislodge into the water or be harmful to wildlife.
- Booms placed by private citizens that become impacted by oil are the responsibility of that individual and require special authorization for removal and proper disposal.
- Alternative absorption methods, such as placing hay bales, homemade hair booms, sandbags or other technology along the shoreline, are not advisable as the overall debris from disposal of such methods would increase and could cause serious long-term damage.
- Oil is a hazardous material and should be handled by highly trained professionals only.
- Volunteers should not attempt to clean impacted beaches themselves or attempt to rescue oiled wildlife on their own. Touching oil is a health risk and disposing of it improperly could cause additional environmental damage.
- Authorized protective measures should be conducted in a manner that provides protection to, and does not disturb, native vegetation, species and their habitat.
- Taking, killing, harming or capturing any species, nests or eggs listed as an endangered species is not permitted.
- Individuals, counties and other entities seeking more information on types of protective measures can also contact BP's community information line at 1-866-448-5816.
- For more information on Florida's response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, visit www.dep.state.fl.us/deepwaterhorizon or follow www.Twitter.com/FLDEPalert.
Vessels of Opportunity (boats) program
- BP is looking to contract shrimp boats, oyster boats and other vessels for hire through the Vessel of Opportunities Program to deploy boom in the Gulf of Mexico. For more information 907-301-8878.
- 98 out of 169 contracts have been activated for the Vessels of Opportunity program in Florida.
- The next local Vessel of Opportunity orientation will be Tuesday, May 11 at 5 p.m.-9 p.m.., at the Hilton Pensacola Beach Gulf Front, 12 Via de Luna Drive.
- Submit your vessel as a vessel of opportunity skimming system: (281) 366-5511
- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has issued an executive order to temporarily suspend a restriction on the use of purse seines for the commercial harvest of baitfish in inshore waters of Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. The FWC is taking this action to help relieve possible economic hardships on the commercial fishing industry that may occur from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
- NOAA Fisheries Service modified the boundaries of the closed fishing area to better reflect the current extent of the oil pollution. All commercial and recreational fishing including catch and release is prohibited in the closed area through May 17. Details can be found at: http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/
- Fishermen who wish to contact BP about a claim should call 1-800-440-0858.
- All claimants will be directed to a hotline (1-800-440-0858) that is manned by the catastrophic loss division of ESIS specializing in oil spill claims.
- Payments will be made to address immediate issues associated with property damage or loss of income due to the oil spill.
- BP believes that it is appropriate to provide interim payments to claimants who are not receiving ordinary income while the cleanup is underway.
- Within 48 hours of receiving supporting documentation (e.g. tax return) the claim will be evaluated and the claimant will be notified of an advance payment for the claim.
- The equivalent of 1 month's income will be paid and these payments will continue until they are able to return to work or their overall claim is resolved.
- BP claims can be handled via phone or in person. Bills will be paid or reimbursed.
- If a claim is rejected the person will be notified in writing of non-payment.
- Claims are currently being paid.
- A link to information on some of the types of claims available and who can submit each claim is available at www.santarosa.fl.gov/oilspill or directly at www.uscg.mil/npfc/Claims/default.asp#types_of_claims.
Department of Financial Services
- Florida CFO Alex Sink today announced that her Department of Financial Services' toll-free Consumer Help Line, at 1-877-My-FL-CFO (1-877-693-5236), is prepared to assist business owners impacted by the growing oil spill in the Gulf. Specialists are available from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and information is also available at www.MyFloridaCFO.com.
- Insurance specialists on the Helpline can answers questions about the claim filing process as it becomes available, but claims for damage or lost income should be filed with British Petroleum (BP) at 1-800-440-0858.
- Future community meetings will be announced as they are scheduled.
- Santa Rosa County officials and emergency management staff are available to speak to groups, please contact 983-5360 for more details.
Mobile Area Contingency Plan
To view the Coast Guard Sector Mobile Area Contingency Plan, visit http://ocean.floridamarine.org/ACP/MOBACP/StartHere.htm
To report possible causes of fraud, call the Attorney General's Office fraud hotline at 1-866-966-7226.
Alternative Response Technology
- To submit alternative response technology, services or products please email
or call (281) 366-5511.
- Poison control centers in the gulf region are available to take any and all health-related calls connected to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. If you or a loved one is worried about health issues related to the Gulf spill, please call your local poison control center at (800) 222-1222.
- Individuals with an air quality question or concern should contact the Environmental Protection Agency Region 4 National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802.
- To report oiled wildlife, please call 1-866-557-1401 and leave a message. Messages will be checked hourly. Individuals are urged not to attempt to help injured or oiled animals, but to report any sightings to the toll free number.
Report Oil Sightings
- To report oiled shoreline, please call 1-866-448-5816.
General Safety Information
Citizens can signup to automatically receive breaking news alerts from Santa Rosa County Emergency Management via e-mail or as a text message on their cell phone at: www.santarosa.fl.gov/emergency/publicwarning.html.
Citizen Information Line
The Santa Rosa County Citizen Information Line at (850) 983-INFO or 4636 is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.