Emergency managers in SW Florida are monitoring the oil spill and slick in the Gulf of Mexico. But they do not believe it will come this way. It's still frightening to the tourism industry. The oil is spilling out at a rate of 5000 gallons a day, from a drilling site in the Gulf. The oil slick has been growing for days, despite efforts to contain it and even burn it off.
"I cannot believe having to deal with this kind of a disaster. It is disheartening and sad to see it happening," said Tamara Pigott, director of the Lee Co. Visitor and Convention Bureau. "We don't need any bad publicity to scare off our European visitors, who come here in the summer typically."
Hotel manager Ken Carpenter agrees. He said: "Business is not good already, and to have this kind of mess would really hurt us, heading into the summer months. We are just holding steady with what we did last year, and we don't need bad publicity!"
Jay Stakenburg is monitoring the situation for Lee Co. emergency management. He's holding conference calls with state and federal officials. "This is a real crisis. This is a disaster in every sense of the word," he told WINK.
However, unless currents and the wind change, the oil slick is not expected to head south to our beaches. "If it did turn this way for some reason, we would have several days to get ready," said Stakenburg. "I don't see it, but it is our job to keep watching it closely, and we will, all weekend long." Stakenburg also said, he has already prepared an emergency declaration of disaster, that Lee Commissioners could quickly vote on and sign, if the oil were to turn and come this way.