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Governor's Oil Task Force Holds First Meeting

By Gina Jordan

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wfsu/local-wfsu-906639.mp3

Tallahassee, FL – The first meeting of the Gulf Oil Spill Economic Recovery Task Force was held Wednesday in Tallahassee. It was created by Governor Charlie Crist to help businesses and industries recover from losses due to the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Gina Jordan reports.

The 28-member task force consists of lawmakers, stage agency heads, and Panhandle business and tourism leaders. Governor Crist told the group they have an incredibly important job making sure the state does all it can during what he called an unexpected and tragic event.

"It's going to affect the lives and livelihoods of every single Floridian. We are a state that certainly depends upon tourism as a giant economic engine."

BP representative Paula Barnett said more than 38-thousand claims have been filed among Gulf coast states, most of them for lost income, and about half have been paid.

"We've already paid out nearly $50-million in claims and we will continue to operate the claims process for as long as the economic losses caused by the oil spill continue."

Over the next year, the task force will report to the governor every thirty days with recommendations of ways to limit the impact on coastal businesses.

More information is available at www.flgov.com/gulfrecoverytaskforce.