Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Clearwater mayor tours oil-soaked Louisiana coast

CLEARWATER — Mayor Frank Hibbard toured oil-soaked marshes off the Louisiana Gulf Coast on Monday and was moved by the breadth of the damage.

"It's amazing how many of the marshes have already been infiltrated," said Hibbard, who joined leaders from 16 other cities on the boat tour organized by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Hibbard, who was back at work Tuesday, also was touched by how the Deepwater Horizon oil rig spill has affected local businesspeople.

"I was talking to a lot of the fishermen, who are second, third and fourth generation," he said. "They're concerned that the estuaries and the fisheries may take decades to recover and what that means to their livelihood and a lifestyle."

The tour, which departed from a boat dock in Lafitte, La., just south of New Orleans, included briefings by the U.S. Coast Guard and BP representatives about efforts to protect the marshes and to clean up areas that already have been impacted.

He was reassured by reports from Coast Guard officials saying they were confident the loop current and natural shelf would keep the oil away from Pinellas shores and that even if it got here the oil would be significantly weathered.

But, he said, a major storm could zap those projections and delay cleaning efforts.

Hibbard, the only Tampa Bay leader to participate, also saw how Louisiana is dealing with issues similar to those we're dealing with, he said.

"They're not only battling the oil. They're also battling perception," Hibbard said.

For example, he said, the reputation of seafood from that area has been tainted. But, reports the Louisiana Seafood Promotion & Marketing Board, 70 percent of Louisiana's coastline remains open to fishing.

Hibbard, who shot a lot of pictures during the tour, plans to make a presentation to the City Council on Monday.

Clearwater mayor tours oil-soaked Louisiana coast 06/22/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 22, 2010 7:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. St. Petersburg council sets millage rate in first budget hearing

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The City Council set the millage rate and gave initial approval to Mayor Rick Kriseman's $538 million budget at Thursday night's hearing.

    Mayor Rick Kriseman talks about the state of the city on Tuesday, two days after Hiurricane Irma passed through the state. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]
  2. How many more people would lack coverage under Cassidy-Graham? We can guess


    WASHINGTON — It's safe to say the new Obamacare rollback measure toward which the Senate is charging would mean fewer Americans have health coverage. Exactly how many is unclear. Some argue it could be more than 22 million people. Others say it could be fewer.

  3. Woman's decomposed body found near St. Petersburg railroad tracks


    ST. PETERSBURG — A woman's body was found near the railway tracks behind an empty building at 3100 38th Ave. N, according to St. Petersburg police.

  4. Warehouse burns on Tampa's east side


    TAMPA — Hillsborough County emergency crews are at the scene of a two-alarm fire at a warehouse near 56th Street and East Hillsborough Avenue.

    Hillsborough County firefighters battle a blaze Thursday night at a warehouse on Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa. [Hillsborough County Fire Rescue]
  5. 'Dream big' drives Lightning's Conacher brothers

    Lightning Strikes

    BRANDON — Two words: Dream big.

    Cory Conacher includes them every time he signs an autograph for a young hockey fan.

    Tampa Bay Lightning forward Cory Conacher (89) on the ice during Lightning training camp in Brandon Friday morning (09/15/17).