Thursday, June 3, 2010

Governor Crist: Oil Is 3-4 Miles Off Florida Panhandle

[DJ]=DJ WSJ: Governor Crist: Oil Is 3-4 Miles Off Florida Panhandle By Mike Esterl Of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said he saw a patch of light oil sheen some three to four miles from Pensacola Beach on Thursday afternoon after joining a reconnaissance flight over the Panhandle. That is "much closer than we'd like it to be," Crist told reporters during a visit to Pensacola's emergency operations center. Other patches of sheen were visible about 10 miles off the Panhandle coast during the flyover, he added. Authorities reiterated Thursday afternoon there were no signs any oil had reached Florida's coast, but that some could hit parts of the Panhandle as early as Friday or Saturday. The main body of the oil spill is still about 35 miles off the Panhandle shoreline in northwestern Florida, the part of the state closest to the spill. Crist sent a letter to BP on Thursday requesting an additional $50 million in funding to prepare Florida's coastline for the approaching oil.
BP earlier gave several Gulf states, including Florida, $25 million each to lay booms and take other precautionary measures. Bill McCollum, Florida's attorney general, said there weren't enough skimming vessels deployed to the state to clean up the spill and that he had sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder on Thursday asking for more. "We need someone in the Obama administration to pay attention to Florida," said McCollum, a Republican candidate for governor. Crist said he'd also push President Obama for help in securing more skimming vessels when he speaks with him Friday in New Orleans. "It's really all hands on deck," Crist said of the approaching oil spill and efforts to mitigate the damage. The governor also threw some weight behind Senator Bill Nelson's call to hand operational control for the spill's clean-up to the military. "That's probably not a bad idea," Crist told reporters, adding that decisions aren't being made as quickly as needed to tackle the spill. Crist is running as an independent candidate for an open Senate seat this fall. Nelson's seat is not up for election. Order free Annual Report for BP plc Visit or call 1-888-301-0513 Order free Annual Report for Transocean Inc. Visit or call 1-888-301-0513 (END) Dow Jones Newswires 06-03-10 1756ET Copyright (c) 2010 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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