Thursday, May 20, 2010

No Oil in Key West (Fingers Still Crossed)

If you haven't heard the latest, let's make it clear:  There is no oil on the beaches of Key West.  Tar balls found earlier in the week were tested and shown not be from the BP leak.

While oil from BP's Gulf oil leak has not arrived on the Florida Keys, residents and volunteers are not acting complacent.  Reports that a small finger of oil has entered the Loop Current has locals already preparing a menu of efforts.

Shoreline cleanups are being held almost daily in the Florida Keys in an effort to rid the shorelines of any debris that normally washes up on the beaches and in the mangroves.

Weeks ago, when this disaster began, local Key West barbers began collecting hair clippings after hearing that hair was one of the best oil absorbers.  Other salons have followed suit, and today at 6:30 pm a "Hair Boom Response Meeting" will be held at Salute's on Higg's Beach.

What can we expect?

NOAA Scientific Support Coordinator Charles Henry answered press questions on the loop current. He noted that in the time it would take for oil to travel to the vicinity of the Florida Straits, any oil would be highly weathered and both the natural process of evaporation and the application of chemical dispersants would reduce the oil volume significantly."

Currently the beaches and seas of Key West are as beautiful as you know them - the stuff of travel magazines.  Seriously, its beautiful out there.  Fish are swimming in clear blue water at the reef, dolphins playing in the nearshore, birds wading for food, and humans enjoying the environment.  It's all the more reason to end drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and end oil's reign over our energy policy (but that is for another post).

While Key West isn't expected to see the type of oil innundation that the Louisiana is now seeing, locals are committed to protecting the fragile Florida Keys ecosystem.

If you are contemplating a visit to Key West, I would not change plans.  The bottom line is there is no oil in the Keys.

Oh, and BP - you suck...big time. (more about that in a future post)
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