The Walton County Sheriff’s Office is inviting the public and media to a public forum regarding the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Representatives from the health department, tourist industry, law enforcement, and emergency response will field questions concerning what we might be able to expect in the coming weeks. The forum will take place Friday, April 30, 2010 at 1:00 PM in the Emerald Ball Room of the Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort and Spa.
The Walton County Sheriff’s Emergency Management and Public Safety Office is keeping in close contact with state and federal officials in order to prepare a response to the 100-mile long oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The spill poses the potential to threaten coastal marine life and impact citizens and businesses along Florida’s Gulf Coast both economically and environmentally.
Walton County Emergency Management and Public Safety Communication Director, Captain Mike Barker, says the Sheriff’s Office will be ready to assist the state and federal government, if needed. Today, an Emergency Response Specialist with the State Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) spoke with Captain Barker along with local emergency responders, county officials, and representatives with the Walton Area Chamber of Commerce, the Beaches of South Walton Tourist Development Council and the South Walton Fire District.
The ultimate path of the oil spill is not known at this time, but it could have a profound impact along the 26-miles of Beaches of South Walton County. In coming days, oil may start to wash ashore. Although it is not clear exactly what areas will be affected by the oil spill, Captain Barker wants Walton County to be aware of the potential risk involved.
The Walton County Sheriff’s Office, along with emergency responders across Northwest Florida, will prepare for the worst and hope for the best concerning this threat to our environment. With this in mind, Captain Barker along with the other panel members hopes to answer any concerns or questions regarding what we might be able to expect in the coming days. All businesses, homeowners, property owners and media are encouraged to join us for this informational forum.