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Florida Gulf Oil Spill Economic Recovery Task Force

June 9th, 2010 by flanews

Its been 51 days since oil began gushing from a busted pipe in the gulf and now swimming at a Florida beach has been band. Perdido Key is closed and more beaches are likely to follow as the oil moves east down the panhandle. As Whitney Ray tells us, as the oil ekes closer, state business and tourism leaders are looking for ways to slow the financial disaster hitting Florida.

So far the state has spent 15 million of BPs dollars to protect the coast. Another seven million to tell travelers Floridas beaches are open. Still tar balls are making their way on to panhandle beaches and fewer travelers are making their way to Florida. Wednesday, the Gulf Oil Spill Economic Recovery Task Force began gathering data to evaluate the financial impact. Governor Charlie Crist says BP will play a key role in Floridas economic recovery.

Its incumbent on us to stay on BP to make sure these claims are paid in a timely fashion that we continue to market that tourism is open and good in Florida, said Crist.

The states tourism agency has been running a media blitz to attract travelers. One out of every five sales tax dollars collect by the state comes from tourism, the industry also employees a million Floridians.

Which means the state budget could tank even more if the oil keeps people at bay. The Department of Children and Families is preparing to supply more food stamps and counseling services for fishermen being forced out of their lifes work.

We are looking at negotiating with BP for behavioral health services so we can send some crisis councilors out, said DCF Secretary George Sheldon.

The need for counseling and food stamps has already hit Florida. Last month in Escambia County food stamp applications rose five percent, most of the new applicants were fishermen.

Many of those fishermen are turning to BP for jobs. BP has hired 628 fishing boat captains to use their boats to deploy protective boom and break up oil sheen. Theyve also hired 13-hunded workers to help with beach cleanup.

Posted in Charlie Crist, Gulf Oil Spill, Oil Drilling, State Budget, State News, Tourism | No Comments »

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