FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 20, 2012
STATEMENT BY FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION SECRETARY HERSCHEL T. VINYARD JR. REGARDING THE TWO YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEEPWATER HORIZON OIL SPILL
"As we mark the two-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, we should reflect on the 11 lives lost and the significant progress made to recover Florida’s economy in the wake of the incident. Despite the passage of time, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is as committed as ever to ensuring Florida’s coastal areas are clean and oil-free. We have made significant progress over the past two years working to clean up our beaches, and we will continue to work with BP to make sure every stretch of Florida’s coastline is as pristine as it was before the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
"Through the Natural Resource Damage Assessment process, we’ve identified the first two important restoration projects that will begin construction later this summer and will be the first step in helping make Floridians whole. These initial projects include a dune restoration project on Pensacola Beach and four boat ramp construction projects in Escambia County, totaling up to $5.7 million.
"DEP is also committed, along with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and the other Gulf States, to implementing restoration projects quickly. Over the next few months we will be working to identify the next phase of restoration projects in Florida, which will include an open and transparent public comment process.
"While our primary focus along the majority of the coastline is on restoration efforts, the state continues to partner with the U.S. Coast Guard to clean up the remaining oil on Florida’s shoreline.
"Florida’s commitment to ensuring a full environmental and economic recovery for the Gulf Coast is unwavering. We would not be able to complete this process without the support of our local government partners and we appreciate their steadfast commitment to Gulf Coast recovery. DEP will continue to work toward solutions that ensure Florida’s environment is appropriately cleaned up and compensated for damages caused by this tragic event."