USF Marine Scientist: We don't see in the near future any possibilities of oil spill reaching the beaches of Florida

When asked about the controversial use of two dispersants BP has been using to break up the oil before it hits shore — which could damage marine life — Hogarth said using them was probably the best option for a horrific situation.  "You do have a lot of oil being gushed out and so, what do you?" he asked rhetorically.  "Do we know the long-term effects?  It's a mixed bag.  I think it's one of those things we have to deal with."

Professor Peebles said,  "If you don't disperse the oil, you know it will wash up on beaches."

Also participating on the phone call was Tampa area Democratic Congresswoman Kathy Castor, who said that she is going to work on getting more financial resources allocated so that "robust academic research" on the effects of the spill can continue to be monitored. Castor said she's trying to find funding in the supplemental appropriations legislation that is being considered by Congress over the next couple of weeks.

On a conference call with reporters this afternoon, South Florida College of Marine Science Dean William Hogarth confirmed that the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has now entered the Loop Current.  He said he knows this to be the case based on looking at satellite images, wind currents and modeling projections.

But his colleague, Dr. Ernst Peebles, said he could not say at all when the oil would leave the Current, because among other things, he did not know the concentration or depth of the oil.

And Dean Hogarth crucially added, "Indications are we don't see in the near future any possibilities of oil being on the beaches of Florida." He did say (as other officials have been saying) that tar balls will wash up along the shores of the beaches.

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