Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Get ready now for oil spill, Clearwater mayor urges

CLEARWATER — Mayor Frank Hibbard wants Clearwater to do more to prepare for possible contamination from the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and also plans to send the Obama administration a letter expressing concern over the federal government's response to it.

"Right now the currents are keeping it away, but I've got to believe there is potential for it to eventually end up on our beaches," the mayor said. "I want to talk about training volunteers ahead of time so that we have an army of people ready."

Noting that tourism is Clearwater's largest industry, he said the spill could be potentially damaging to the local economy. Even if the oil goes to other parts of Florida, like the Keys or the Panhandle, some tourists might stay away from the state entirely.

"It could be devastating to us, even if it doesn't hit us but it hits Florida," Hibbard said.

Clearwater and Pinellas County authorities have been watching the oil spill closely.

Clearwater staffers have photographed the beach to document how it appears now. The Property Appraiser's Office has been taking aerial footage of the Pinellas coastline.

The local tourism bureau, Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater, has been promoting live webcams from Clearwater Beach and St. Pete Beach on its website to reassure potential visitors that beaches are oil-free now.

Pinellas County Emergency Management has considered offering the use of the county's beach parks as staging areas to fight the spill, if necessary.

Clearwater's City Council was to discuss the oil spill toward the end of Thursday night's meeting.

If the oil spill spreads here, plans are to place booms in the water to block local inlets, like Clearwater and Dunedin passes and protect estuaries and mangroves.

There's no similar plan for the beaches, though.

"They won't protect the beaches because it's too big a job," Hibbard said, adding that volunteers could help with that task.

Hibbard also wants to send a letter to President Barack Obama's administration. He thinks the federal government should be more involved in efforts to contain the spill, instead of leaving it to BP.

"There should be all hands on deck for this," he said, "to try to get this contained."

Mike Brassfield can be reached at or (727) 445-4160.

Police Department decision

A large crowd packed into City Hall on Thursday night to talk to the City Council about whether Clearwater should disband its Police Department and contract with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office instead. Council members were weighing the issue as North Pinellas Times went to press Thursday night. Look for updates today on or in Saturday's Times.

Get ready now for oil spill, Clearwater mayor urges 05/20/10 [Last modified: Thursday, May 20, 2010 7:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Kidpreneurs — and adults — capitalize on gooey, squishy Slime craze


    First it was Play-Doh. Then Gak. There have been dozens of variations for sale of the oozy, gooey, squishable, stretchable kids' toy through the generations.

    Aletheia Venator and Berlyn Perdomo demonstrate the stretchiness of their slime. - Berlyn Perdomo and her friend, Aletheia Venator, both 13, make and sell slime which can be seen on their instagram site @the.real.slimeshadyy [JIM DAMASKE   |   Times]
  2. After last year's drug-related deaths, Tampa's Sunset Music Festival says it's stepping up safety, security

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Alex Haynes worked three jobs. He had a fiance and an infant son. He owned his own home in Melbourne. Last summer, the 22-year-old attended the Sunset Musical Festival at Raymond James Stadium.

    He left in an ambulance.

    Last year’s Sunset Music Festival was marked by dozens of medical emergencies.
  3. What you need to know for Friday, May 26


    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Read this morning why Florida's most prized sweet corn is nearly extinct. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]
  4. The last farmer of Florida's prized Zellwood corn is thinking of packing it in


    MOUNT DORA — Hank Scott steps out of his pickup between the long rows and snaps off an ear that grows about bellybutton-high on the forehead-high stalks.

    Hank Scott, co-owner of Long and Scott Farms, shucks an ear of corn on the farm in Mount Dora, Fla., on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. The farm specializes in Scott's Zellwood Triple-Sweet Gourmet Corn. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  5. Trump's rock-solid support shows in Pennsylvania: 'Why can't we be friends with Russia'


    HAZLETON, Pa. — To many here, the fires in Washington are distant and unimportant, a confusing jangle of news about Russia whipped up by forces set on ruining President Donald Trump.

    A street in downtown Hazleton, Pa. (Alex Leary  |  Times)