Coast Guard: Less than 1/2 mile of boom ready to be deployed for entire East Coast of Florida from Key Largo to Cape Canaveral

Saturday, June 26, 2010
By Paul Martin

Boom-poor Palm Beach County plans to block oil with fencing, Palm Beach Post, June 26, 2010:

The Coast Guard is expected to maintain its own supply of boom based on regulations that grew out of the Exxon Valdez disaster. Each area must have enough boom on hand to respond to “the average, most probable discharge” of oil, said Vince Cesario, a Miami-based contingency planner for the Coast Guard.

Right now, there’s only about 2,000 feet, a little more than a third of a mile, ready to be deployed in the Coast Guard sector that serves portions of Brevard County all the way to Key Largo, said Petty Officer Jennifer Johnson, who is stationed at the Florida Peninsula Command Center, which directs response to the spill.

To put that in perspective, Palm Beach County has its own supply of about a mile. It would require 14 times that amount to protect the entire coastline.

But for now, South Florida is not a priority.

“All the boom is being used in critical areas that need it now,” Johnson said.

“We need it on the Panhandle. They need it in Louisiana and they need it in Alabama.”

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