The BP oil spill is damaging more than just the ecological aspects Gulf of Mexico, as the economies of the Gulf states are suffering, too. An economist from the University of Central Florida in Orlando predicts that this disaster could cost Florida’s economy $2.2 billion. He also estimates that 39,000 jobs will be lost. The reason for this is that tourism has plummeted since the spill. This further prevents the Florida economy from reaching its full potential in an already difficult economy.
This downfall became apparent over Memorial Day weekend. Generally, this holiday weekend leaves hotels and restaurants overflowing with tourists. While Memorial Day itself was not dramatically empty, the crowd that usually dominates the June to August time period has disappeared. By Memorial Day, most people have picked their vacation destination location. Florida has disappeared from most travel agendas.
Florida is not completely dependent on their tourist industry; however, another main industry is at risk. Fishing is usually a source of economic stability for many locals. With the extensive damage in the Gulf of Mexico and the fear of it spreading, the fishing industry is at a near standstill in many locations.
Between the tourism and the fishing industries, money and jobs are lost. Florida already had an expected $6 billion shortfall, but adding another $2 million due to the oil spill is devastating. It is also estimated that 39,000 jobs will be cut over the coming summer weeks, particularly in these two industries. Before the oil spill, Florida had an unemployment rate of 12%, far above the national average. That percentage will only rise, threatening the livelihood of Florida workers and their families.
Florida Senator Bill Nelson has not only recognized the damage done to his state, but to the surrounding states also in danger. He believes that the continuous flow of oil may drift to the Atlantic Coast. Nelson’s greatest fear is there will be “no beach that’s going to be spared.”
A statewide board is scheduled to meet in Miami to discuss the damage and collaborate on potential solutions. Governor Charlie Crist organized a Gulf Oil Spill Economic Recovery Task Force to provide the relief effort with a systematic approach. One aspect of Crist’s plan is to ask BP for $200 million. This compensation would be used for television advertising to reignite the tourist interest in Florida, counterbalancing the economic destruction, and conducting scientific research of the spill. However, other analysts doubt that it will be enough to even make a noticeable dent.
If you own or operate property or a business that has been affected by the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, contact Newsome Law Firm and fill out a case evaluation form today. Our team of attorneys has experience specific to complications associated with environmental disasters. Not only can they give you the legal guidance you need, they can help you get the compensation you deserve.