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By Rady Ananda

Key West residents are organizing their own mitigation efforts to the BP oil catastrophe, creating hair booms which absorb oil without destroying the hydrosphere. Meanwhile, on Friday, Governor Charlie Crist declared a State of Emergency for Monroe County (which includes the Keys), and Lee, Collier, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Citizen Emergency Response Team Services (CERTS) has met three times for emergency planning and to provide information to volunteers. They’re currently developing a Remedial Action Master Plan to set goals and priorities. Also, the Florida Keys Environment Coalition created a website to track volunteers and post information: http://www.KeysSpill.com.

All salons, groomers, wool and alpaca fleece farmers, and individuals, can sign up to donate hair, fur, fleece, feathers, nylons, and funding. See http://matteroftrust.org/ for more information.

Key West residents would also like to buy hydrocarbon testing kits. Hanby sells them for $900 a pop. Residents are considering taking 24-hour HAZWOPER training, at $575 per person. This will certify potential BP employees working on clean up. Over a hundred people have taken HAZMAT volunteer training for $100 (a four-hour class). BP gave Key West $10,000 toward that cost, which is “the limit of their commitment,” according to a CERTS organizer.

We do have reports, however, that those working on the spill in Louisiana have become ill from the toxic fumes. Although the EPA issued a directive requiring BP to identify and use a less toxic and more effective dispersant (other than 2-butoxyethanol), BP refused.

Hurricane season is upon us in South Florida, and is being watched very closely. A low pressure system has developed north of the Bahamas, which has the potential of entering the Gulf and driving the oil to the Keys. Dr Jeff Masters writes:

“The counter-clockwise flow of air around this low will probably lead to northeasterly winds over the oil spill region Tuesday through Wednesday, keeping oil away from the coasts of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle, but pushing oil southwards towards the Loop Current.”

However, updates posted this evening “indicate an almost stationary motion…. The tropical wave mentioned this morning has pretty much lost all convection, and appears to have diminished quite a bit.”