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Sen. Nelson wants feds to monitor oil ‘plumes’

By Staff | Jul 7, 2010

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, introduced legislation Wednesday to force the federal government to monitor underwater oil plumes.
According to a report from the Associated Press, the legislation requires the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration to develop a comprehensive review of its testing methods and technology to find and monitor undersea plumes.
“NOAA ought to be the one that’s at the point of the spear on research right now on the existence and effects of subsurface oil,” said Nelson to the AP.
Nelson met with researchers from Florida Gulf Coast University earlier on Wednesday to discuss the issue of underwater oil plumes, which scientists believe will linger long after the April 20 spill is plugged.
He presented the legislation because of a frustration of what he perceives is a lack of planning to deal with the environmental impact of the spill.
Although many parts of the state are dealing with or are on high alert for the spill, recent computerized projections from the NOAA predict that Lee County beaches won’t be hit with drifting oil.
There is a less than 1 percent chance that oil will arrive on the local beaches of Southwest Florida, according to NOAA.
“That is their predication, and I hope they are right,” said Kathy Rooker, senior administrative consultant of the Captiva Erosion Prevention District. “We feel bad for any of the areas that are impacted by the oil spill.”
The region of South Florida — from approximately the Everglades National Park to West Palm Beach — has a 61-80 percent chance of oil washing ashore. And Florida’s northwestern shore has 1-20 percent chance of receiving oil.
Earlier in the spill, officials from the CEPD organized OSHA hazardous waste training for volunteers who wanted to pick up oil debris or tar balls if the spill reached Southwest Florida.
The predictions are subject to change.
The district has already trained 150 volunteers.
“If it ever is a problem we have a number of people who are certified,” said Rooker.