Coverage of the Gulf Oil Spill Community Forum in St. Pete (videos)

[image-1]For the media panel, Rob Lorei of WMNF Radio and WEDU TV raised the important point of health effects on humans caused by the carcinogenic dispersant being sprayed in the Gulf. Lorei reported that 100 million gallons of Corexit, the dispersant BP is currently using, is being sprayed at the site every day, and we have yet to see the health effects of Corexit on Florida fish, not to mention oil workers, clean-up crews, and fishermen.

To conclude the evening, the solution panel discussed the effects of drilling for oil on our lands, economies, and health. David Friendman from the Union of Concerned Scientists suggested hybrid or electric vehicles as a personal effort to decrease oil demand, but the whole panel agreed that change must come from policy makers and encouraged audience members to contact senators and lawmakers to discourage offshore drilling in Florida.

CL's News and Politics editor Mitch Perry:

David Friendman from the Union of Concerned Scientists on hybrid and electric vehicles:

As residents of St. Petersburg poured into the Palladium Theatre on Tuesday night, it was hard not to be overwhelmed by a sense of community, and the raucous cheers throughout the night just reinforced that emotion. Its no secret that this oil gusher will drastically affect the Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi shores and wildlife, but the points discussed at the community forum covered not only the ecological impact of this disaster, but also the personal and economical impacts that very few have considered.

D.T. Minich for Visit St. Pete/Clearwater discussed the already large numbers of hotel cancellations that the West coast of Florida has seen since the oil spill began, Minich reported as much as a "20% decline in advance reservations." He added that the decline in numbers is already leading to more hospitality lay offs in an industry that is still recovering from the recession.

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