That's how Florida's top environmental official, Mike Sole, characterized the task both to stop the oil gushing from the Deepwater Horizon and to clean up its disastrous results. As of May 3, 2010, Governor Charlie Crist has declared state of emergencies in the flowing counties: Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Gulf, Franklin, Wakulla, Jefferson, Taylor, Dixie, Levy, Citrus, Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee and Sarasota
What is the State of Florida Doing?
The State Emergency Response Team, in support of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) as the lead response agency for the state of Florida, is actively monitoring the Deepwater Horizon response.
· DEP has conducted water and sediment sampling to use as a baseline for ongoing monitoring.
· DEP, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), county governments, water management districts and several federal agencies continue to conduct pre-impact assessments, including sampling of water, fish, shellfish and habitats along the Florida coastline and into the Gulf of Mexico.
· Statewide monitoring is ongoing in coordination with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Panhandle-specific data is expected to be completed early this week. To view Florida's air quality data, visit http://www.airnow.gov/ or http://www.epa.gov/bpspill/.
· The State Emergency Response Team has representatives at the Unified Command at the U.S. Coast Guard's Sector Mobile, helping to coordinate the efforts to protect Florida's shoreline.
· Emergency Support Function 15, Volunteers and Donations, successfully spearheaded pre-impact beach cleanups over the weekend of May 1-2. More than 1,200 volunteers participated in cleanups in Escambia, Santa Rosa, and Wakulla counties to minimize the effect of the Deepwater Horizon incident. Volunteer Florida offers guidance for conducting safe pre-impact beach cleanups at www.volunteerflorida.org.
The Governor's Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service is encouraging residents along the Florida Panhandle to participate in local beach cleanup events this weekend. For information on scheduled beach cleanups and other volunteer opportunities in your area, please visit www.VolunteerFlorida.org. Or, to request volunteer information call (866) 448-5816.
BP has established a volunteer program and set up a toll-free number for those interested in volunteering. When calling, interested parties should communicate what activities they are volunteering and locations in which they are available to work. In addition, potential volunteers may call this line to learn about the training that is required to work in oil spill clean-up operations. For information on assisting with the response efforts, contact BP's community information line at (866) 448-5816.
· Today, the Florida Emergency Information Line was activated in response to Deepwater Horizon accident. The hotline, which provides Floridians information regarding the Deepwater Horizon response, will operate from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. until further notice. The number for residents to call is: (800) 342-3557
· Environment/community hotline: to report oil on the beach or shoreline or other environment or community impacts and access the Rapid Response Team - (866) 448-5816.
· Wildlife: to report and access care for impacted, i.e., oiled, wildlife (866) 557-1401.
· Volunteers: to request volunteer information (866) 448-5816.
· Services: to register as consultant, contractor, vendor, or submit information on alternative response technology, services, products or suggestions (281) 366-5511