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. Bomb experts say materials at Tampa Palms murder scene were meant to kill


    TAMPA — Easily obtainable chemicals and equipment that investigators found at the scene of a double murder in Tampa Palms were assembled for one purpose, according to explosives experts: To create an improvised explosive device that could kill people and destroy property.

  2. Gov. Rick Scott's family history of alcohol abuse could decide 'liquor wall" bill


    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott must decide Wednesday whether to let Walmart and other big-box stores sell liquor, and he says a factor in his decision is the history of alcohol abuse in his family.

    Florida Governor Rick Scott is considering a veto of a bill that would allow Walmart, Target and other big box retail stores to sell liquor. [Andres Leiva | Tampa Bay Times]
  3. Tampa lands Super Bowl in 2021


    Tampa's Super again. Or at least it will be soon.

    Mike Tomlin celebrates with LaMarr Woodley and Troy Polamalu after the Steelers beat the Cardinals in 

Super Bowl XLIII  on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. [Times files (2009)
  4. Spacewalking astronauts pull off urgent repairs at International Space Station (w/video)


    CAPE CANAVERAL — Spacewalking astronauts completed urgent repairs at the International Space Station on Tuesday, replacing equipment that failed three days earlier and restoring a backup for a vital data-relay system.

    In this NASA provided frame from video, NASA astronaut Jack Fischer works to install antennas at the International Space Station while astronaut Peggy Whitson, not pictured, works on repairs Tuesday, May 23, 2017. [NASA via AP]
  5. Forecast: Severe storms, gusty winds for Tampa Bay as cold front arrives Wednesday


    Muggy and dry conditions will prevail across the Tampa Bay region ahead of a cold front that could produce gusty winds and potentially severe storms late Wednesday.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]