Anniversary Approaches, So Does Deadline

By: Whitney Ray Email
By: Whitney Ray Email

Tallahassee, FL - The work continues at the state food lab where Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam visited with chemists and lab technicians Wednesday.

The lab has been testing Florida seafood for traces of oil and chemical dispersants ever since BP spilled millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico last year.

The lab’s equipment is so sensitive that if that 18 wheeler was parked and running outside the lab… Chemicals from its exhaust would show up in test samples.

As for the dispersants, traces have been found in some of the samples but Putnam says they’re insignificant.

“It’s one, one thousandth of the level of concern published by the Food and Drug Administration,” said Putnam.

The lab is receiving 10 million dollars from BP for testing and another 10 million to tell the country gulf seafood is safe. 30 million was awarded to Florida tourism councils Monday to attract visitors still leery of panhandle beaches. BP hopes the gift will convince the state not to sue the oil giant for billions. So far it has.

“I want to make sure that litigation is the last resort not the first resort,” said Governor Rick Scott.

The state has until April 20th to join Louisiana and Alabama in a federal suit against the oil giant. Florida could still sue BP even if it doesn’t enter into this current suit. For now the state continues to work on a claim and is expected to receive millions of dollars from fines to be levied against the oil giant.

One reason state leaders aren’t ready to sue is because they haven’t even tallied all the damage from the spill and filed a claim. Once a claim is filed, Florida will have 90 days to sue the oil giant.

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