Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a senior member of the Florida Congressional Delegation, was briefed today, Tuesday, June 22 by Coast Guard officials and representatives from other federal agencies during her visit to the Florida Peninsula Joint Command Post. Ileana also held a constructive meeting with NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco regarding fisheries closures and the effect the 2010 Hurricane season will have on the movement of the oil spill.
The recently formed Peninsula Command Post is staffed with representatives from BP, the Coast Guard, the National Park Service and other state and local agencies. During Ileana's briefing she received additional information on the movement of the main oil slick and was informed that at this time South Florida, including the ecologically sensitive Florida Keys, will not be impacted by the oil spill. While Ileana acknowledged the obvious good news this was, she also urged the Coast Guard to continue with preparedness efforts. The Congresswoman also urged BP representatives to work closely with South Florida residents seeking compensation and reiterated the need for a more streamlined, transparent and easy to understand claims process.
During Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen's separate meeting with Dr. Jane Lubchenco and NOAA's fishery and science experts, she urged them to continue dedicating NOAA resources to the Gulf oil spill. Ileana also stressed the importance of having real time information in determining future fisheries closures in the Gulf.
Said Ros-Lehtinen, "During my meeting with Dr. Lubchenco and her staff, I advocated on behalf of Keys and South Florida fishermen who are very concerned about the current closure of over 30% of the Gulf of Mexico to fishing. When you add this to other future fishery restrictions, these commercial fishermen believe their livelihoods are at stake. I impressed upon the NOAA officials the need to have a better system of determining these closures as whole communities are dependent on them."