According to officials, an oil sheen confirmed around 9 miles off Florida’s coast could hit Pensacola’s beaches by the end of the week.
“It’s inevitable that we will see it on the beaches,” says Keith Wilkins, deputy chief of neighborhood and community services for Escambia County.
The most recent projections from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show the oil slick is moving into the mouth of Mobile Bay, then sliding east across Alabama’s coastline and reaching Florida’s beaches by approximately Thursday.
Today, Escambia County officials began putting out booms to prepare for the oil’s arrival.
“It’s all going to depend on the weather. The wind could change it,” NOAA spokesman Ben Sherman, said. Officials of Florida say BP has not answered requests for around $150,000 to purchase sifting machines and a tractor to remove oil from the beaches.
Gulf Breeze city officials said they were prepared to launch a backup plan to protect its six miles of coastline if BP cannot stop the oil.
The plan consists of using 6,000 feet of turbidity curtains to guard the shoreline, sending out volunteer coast watchers to keep an eye on approaching oil and positioning a team of trained firefighters to use a $19,000 oil skimmer.
Source: USA TODAY