Legislators seek plan to protect LI from oil spillBy REID J. EPSTEIN
June 3, 2010
Suffolk County needs to develop a plan to protect its beaches if oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico reaches Long Island, Legis. Tom Cilmi (R-Bay Shore) said Wednesday.
Cilmi Wednesday introduced legislation to require eight county agencies to determine how to handle incoming oil, should ocean currents bring it from the Gulf to local shores.
"I want to get the experts together and talk about it," Cilmi said. "As a legislator, I don't know the first thing about protecting our shores from oil, but there are folks within the county who do."
Cilmi's bill could come to a vote as early as June 22. Were it to pass and be signed by County Executive Steve Levy, the county agencies would have 20 days to submit a report to the legislature.
"I'm not saying you can prevent every action from occurring, but you certainly should have good plans in place to deal with the effects," he said.
The study would not cost the county money, Cilmi said, because it would be conducted by existing employees. He said there could be some cost if the agencies recommend specific preventive measures.
Cilmi's move comes 11 days after Long Island congressmen Tim Bishop (D-Southampton), Steve Israel (D-Huntington) and Peter King (R-Seaford) formally asked BP to develop and implement a plan on how to address potential consequences of the Deepwater Horizon spill reaching New York's coastline. The three also asked the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to forecast the possibility of oil coming this far north.
"No one knows if New York could be harmed by this or not," Israel said. "But there are too many coastal jobs at stake for us to just wait and see."
Israel spokeswoman Lindsay Hamilton said BP has not responded to their letter. NOAA is working on the request, she said.
Below are letters sent to BP and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: