Saturday, June 26, 2010

New Jersey Is Monitoring the Gulf Oil Spill But Any Impact Is Unlikely

Via Brian T. Murray / The Star-Ledger

New Jersey is forming a team of specialists to monitor the BP oil spill off the coast of Louisiana in the unlikely, but worrisome event the slick reaches East Coast shores.

Fearing the potential impacts on Jersey Shore tourism and the state’s fishing industry, Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin said he is not taking any chances as he announced today the creation of a “Gulf Spill Team” to closely monitor the disaster. The team will create a scientific model of the likely path of the contamination and develop a plan of action, although scientists have said it will require a “sequence of unlikely events” for the slick to hit the east coast.

"Right now, we are very optimistic the oil will not reach New Jersey and will not affect fishing nor the summer beach season." said Martin. "However, we are keeping close watch on this situation to be prepared for any possible scenario.''

However, more recent assessments in NJ say that ocean currents make pollution of our coast virtually impossible. Our beaches and fishing industry will not be affected by the Gulf oil spill this summer, but are more threatened by misinformation, state Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin has said.

Martin told the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee the leaking oil remains currently confined in the Gulf of Mexico and has not reached the Loop Current that could take it towards the tip of Florida, and north along the Atlantic Coast towards the Carolinas.

And should that happen, Martin noted, the Gulf Stream would then carry it eastward and out to sea. Martin said the oil could only reach New Jersey through a sequence of unlikely, atypical events – and even then would not reach our coast until at least late autumn.

"Our beaches are clean and our tourism industry is safe from oil throughout the summer,'' Martin said. "Our fishing and seafood industries are safe because all of the migratory fish were already here for the season before the spill occurred.

"The greatest risk the state faces right now from the Gulf oil spill is misinformation – so it's important to get the facts right,'' Martin added. "It is crucial that we make plans and decisions based on facts and science, and keep the public accurately informed in order to avoid creating issues where they may not exist.''

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