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Law Enforcement Mobilized in the Panhandle

June 16th, 2010 by Mike Vasilinda

Oil has invaded beaches in the panhandle and has seeped into Pensacola Bay despite efforts to contain the orange gunk. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, the state is mobilizing hundreds of law enforcement officers and others to aid in the fight.

Despite best efforts, tar balls are floating in the water at the mouth of Pensacola Bay as two large ships pull boom nearby and a skimmer ship sucks in the oily gunk.

Since Tuesday, the Fish and Wildlife Commission has been trying to close and boom Pensacola Pass on incoming tides.

We have two of our four Fish and Wildlife vessels in that pass for 24 hours while we close that,” Fish and Wildlife officer Sarah Manning said.

Manning says if more oil shows up in the bay, it is likely the intercostal waterway will be closed to commercial traffic. The closure becomes more likely with each incoming tide.

Ken Manning has been patrolling the waters for the Fish and Wildlife Commission.

Its just awful. The consistency of grease,” Ken Manning said.

Manning is getting help.

More than a dozen FWC officers from south Florida have com here to Pensacola to join the fight.

Jorge Pino is a communications officer stationed in Miami.

We have several large vessels like the one that were on right now,” Pino said. “Several small vessels that we brought as well. And we also brought all-terain vehicles that were going to use to patrol the beach to make sure if the oil does get onto the beach, we can be ready to direct recovery crews to that area.

While just small deposits have drifted to inland waters so farlarge concentrations are right off shore, and moving closer with every incoming tide.

Other state agencies are also beefing up their presence in Pensacola and increasing overtime to those already there, under the assumption BP will eventually pick up the tab.

Posted in Environment, Gulf Oil Spill, State News, Wildlife | No Comments »

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