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Vern Buchanan: SeaPort Manatee Oil Spill Needs to be Investigated

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U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., wants an investigation into oil being dumped in the Gulf at the end of last month.

“On Aug. 31, SeaPort Manatee reported the oil spill to the National Response Center, which provides assistance in response and recovery for emergencies involving hazardous substances, pollutants and contaminants, like crude oil. On Sept. 1, the U.S. Coast Guard began the cleanup process and the investigation into the cause of the spill,” Buchanan’s office noted.

At the end of last week, Buchanan toured SeaPort Manatee with SeaPort Manatee Executive Director Carlos Buqueras and Cpt. Michael Kahle, a sector commander for the U.S. Coast Guard.

“According to Capt. Kahle, 19,000 gallons of contaminated water were cleaned up from the port. Of that, approximately 3,500 gallons were very heavy, unrefined oil,” Buchanan’s office noted. “To date, 97 percent of the oil has been removed from the surface of the water, and Capt. Kahle expects cleanup efforts to be completed this weekend.”

“Our local waterways, environment and marine life are incredibly important to area residents and Florida’s tourism-based economy,” said Buchanan. “With no evidence pointing to any infrastructure failures or pipeline leaks so far, it looks increasingly likely that someone may have dumped this oil and is failing to come forward. Whether an accident or purposeful, any potential bad actors must be held accountable for putting our waterways at risk. Just as water quality is critical to our way of life, Port Manatee is essential to our area’s economy, and I’m committed to ensuring both are safeguarded from future spills.”

“It’s still too early to define where exactly that heavy fuel came from, because we don’t handle a lot of heavy fuel,” said Buqueras.

“I appreciate the work the U.S. Coast Guard is doing, led by Capt. Kahle, to investigate the source of this spill and ensure it never happens again,” said Buchanan. “I look forward to the investigation’s timely resolution.”


  • Kevin Derby

    Originally from Jacksonville, Kevin Derby is a contributing writer for Florida Daily and covers politics across Florida.

    View all posts

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