WASHINGTON May 17 The U.S. Coast Guard is
preparing for the possibility that tar balls from underwater
oil plumes resulting from the Gulf oil spill may reach the
coastline of southern Florida, a senior Coast Guard official
told a Senate committee on Monday.
"We've been watching that very carefully," said Rear
Admiral Peter Neffenger, Deputy National Incident Commander
with the Coat Guard.
"We're preparing for potential impact on the southern
Florida coast and impacts around the southern Florida coast,"
he told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Committee at a hearing on the oil spill.
He said the oil would likely be in the form of tar balls
that are a "little easier to manage." Neffenger said the Gulf
current that would carry the oil plumes to the Florida coast is
now about 40 or 50 miles (65-80 km) from the southern edge of
(Reporting by Tom Doggett and Ayesha Rascoe)