KEY WEST, FL—Florida CFO Alex Sink today held a roundtable with Key West business owners and took a boat tour of the Southern Keys focused on the potential economic and environmental impact of the BP oil spill throughout Florida. Local area leaders and business owners shared their stories about the economic impact they are already experiencing because of the oil spill and heard from CFO Sink about the steps she has taken to help Florida’s coastal businesses. CFO Sink also took a boat tour with a Fish and Wildlife Commission research manager and other marine experts, viewing the currently pristine waters around the Southern Keys and discussing the potential environmental impact, especially on the marine life, should the oil that is now approximately 400 miles away reach South Florida.
“Floridians living in the Keys told me they are already feeling the economic impact, both on their tourism and commercial seafood industries. BP is responsible, and BP should be held responsible for every lost dollar,” said CFO Sink. “Given that this oil spill remains hundreds of miles from the Keys, we must work together to ensure a profitable summer tourist season, and I pledge to stand with Floridians to do just that. Also, we need to make sure we are doing everything possible to study what’s happening in Louisiana and get prepared in the event that oil is carried into the loop current and down to South Florida.”
CFO Sink said what she learned from the tour only strengthened her resolve that the federal government must be in full control over the oil spill containment effort and focused on how to mitigate the damage that is happening to beaches and ecosystems in other states. On the boat tour with CFO Sink were: John Hunt, manager of the FWC Research Laboratory, Billy Causey, southeast regional superintendent for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Gary Appelson, policy coordinator for the Caribbean Conservation Corporation, Millard (Mill) McCleary, program director for Reef Relief, and Jim Fourqurean, a Florida International University ecologist who specializes in marine environments.
The roundtable included local business owners, tourism industry representatives and elected officials. Business owners told CFO Sink that reports about the oil spill’s potential impact in Florida have prompted cancellations just as the peak of the tourist season is beginning this Memorial Day Weekend. Sink reconfirmed her commitment that the federal government, and not BP, must be in charge of the claims process for lost business income due to the oil spill.
CFO Sink has been a leading voice advocating for help for Florida’s coastal businesses and stronger federal leadership. On Monday, CFO Sink wrote a letter to President Obama asking for a more coordinated Federal effort to oversee the Deepwater Horizon oil leak response, including the handling of the claims process. Yesterday, she urged Small Business Administration Secretary Karen Mills to review the loan process to help struggling small businesses survive and sent a letter to Michael Sole, Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, asking that a group of scientists and experts travel to Louisiana to study the effects of oil on their coasts so Florida has up-to-date mitigation and response information. For more information on CFO Sink’s actions regarding the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, visit: http://www.myfloridacfo.com/OilSpill
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