The Longboat Key Town Commission is willing to spend $17,000 to have its beach engineer prepare a local response plan in case oil from the leaking Deepwater Horizon well in the Gulf makes its way to Longboat Key.
Although the U.S. Coast Guard’s multi-state strategy for addressing floating oil at inlets includes plans for both Longboat Pass and New Pass, Town Manager Bruce St. Denis doesn’t want to count on that plan alone to protect all of the Key and its neighboring islands.
St. Denis sent an e-mail to the Longboat Key Town Commission Thursday, May 13, alerting commissioners that if oil from the Deepwater Horizon well makes its way to Longboat Key, the passes will be protected by using booms to divert oil to collection points in and just outside of the inlets.
But the town manager and Public Works Director Juan Florensa are discussing the implications of the Coast Guard’s strategy with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and beach engineer Coastal Planning & Engineering.
St. Denis believes creating a specific plan will help identify the best strategies for the town, which could then be adopted with the counties’ oil-response plans.
“We want to cover all areas between the passes, including the bay,” St. Denis said.
Although the Town Commission hopes that the town will be reimbursed for the cost of the study and any preparations that are done to prepare for oil, St. Denis warned the commission not to bet on reimbursements from British Petroleum.
“Anything we do over and above what the state and federal agencies do may or may not be reimbursable,” St. Denis said. “All we can do is hope for reimbursement.”
Contact Kurt Schultheis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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