Light at end of tunnel for Florida's oil spill response

2:38 PM, Aug 5, 2010   |    comments
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Tallahassee, Florida -- Florida's emergency workers have spent a record amount of time fully activated for the BP Oil spill, but that historic run ended on Thursday.

For the first time in 98 days, the state Emergency Response Team deactivated from a level one alert down to level two.  That means fewer workers will handle Florida's response to the spill.

Workers are relieved.  One says there is a light at the end of the tunnel and fortunately it's not a train. 

State Emergency Management Director David Halstead says it's time to lower the activation level because the Deepwater Horizon well has been capped for three weeks now and there's no more skimmable oil on the water.

But Halstead says there are still details to tie up.

"We have a lot of contracted vessels out there, contracted boom, we got to get the boom out of the water.  We've got four branches with incident command posts stood up.  We've got still over a dozen people at Unified Command Mobile.  All of those things have to be brought back and reduced as we continue to see the impacts of the oil lessen and lessen."

State emergency workers have now logged more time at full activation than the response to Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Halstead is pleased with their performance.

"I think it's been a terrific state response.  I think the coordination between all the state agencies and obviously here we're here to support the locals and supporting the locals is really the message for the team here and it has been the message during this last 98 days."

A new federal report estimates the Deepwater Horizon well has released about 5 million barrels of oil.

The report also estimates about 25 percent of the oil was burned off or skimmed, another 25 percent naturally dissolved or evaporated, 24 percent was dispersed into droplets and 26 percent remains in the water. 

Dave Heller, 10 News

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