Florida, counties burning through BP cash, Sole says

Florida is quickly spending the $25 million it received last week from BP for the oil spill response and is expected to ask for more soon, Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Mike Sole told the Cabinet Tuesday.

BP is the legal “responsible party” under federal law, which means the company will have to pay for protecting Florida’s shore and cleaning up the oil that reaches it. Winds were continuing Tuesday to push the slick towards the northwest away from Florida, but choppy waters were hampering cleanup efforts as the leak from an oil well on the sea floor continued.

DEP is working with counties to develop strategies for deploying boom in an attempt prevent oil from reaching the shoreline, Sole said. “My expectation is this money will go quickly,” he said. “We are in a process of working with the counties to get an understanding — and we expect to get that today — (of) how much this is costing them to respond to the oil spill.”

Escambia County so far has spent $1.4 million on the response but could spend $13 million over the next 30 days, Kelly Cooke, communications coordinator for Escambia County, told the Florida Tribune on Tuesday.

Sole told the Cabinet meeting he expects to return to BP soon to say how much more money the state needs. Some of the cost, he said, will depend on how much oil eventually reaches Florida’s shore and what form it is in. A “tarball brigade” of workers could be used if only small amounts reach the shore, he said, but heavy equipment may be needed if petroleum washes

(Story provided by The Florida Tribune. Copyrighted by Bruce Ritchie and FloridaEnvironments.com. Do not copy or redistribute without permission.)ashore.