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Thursday July 31st 2014

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Email on BP in Bayou Chico

To the Pensacola City Council (which doesn’t meet again until July 19):

I live in a townhouse on Mahogany Mill Pond, and I am very concerned about the Bayou Chico BP decontamination operation to be located at the old Runyons facility. Bayou Chico is a recovering Bayou, with an interesting mix of commercial and residential uses. Protecting the Bayou is in the best interest of all of the uses existing in the bayou as well both the City and County. The so called Runyon clean up station will be located between several marinas with primarily recreational boats (PYC, Bahia Mar, Palm Harbor, etc), one of the few popular restaurants (Oar House)and immediately across the bayou from Mahogany Mill Pond – with approximately four hundred feet of flourishing shoreline marsh and associated wildlife including a thriving fiddler crab community. The intertidal communities (emergent grasses, and animal communities) in Mahogany Mill Pond are some of the few remaining in this section of the Bayou and warrant realistic protection.

It makes little sense to allow contaminated VOOs access to Bayou Chico which will simply spread pollution and increase the environmental impact associated with the clean up activities. VOOs should be decontaminated long before they enter sensitive bay or bayou systems – and this initial VOO cleanup should be done either outside the pass, or in a very controlled setting just inside the pass – possibly near NAS.

Additionally, a protective boom could easily and should be installed across the mouth of the pond – and for some reason this continues to be unaddressed with the varying response plans floating around.

I hope that this proposed operation is well scrutinized, that affected parties are given an opportunity to be briefed and provide input about it, and that the rush to do something doesn’t simply create greater problems. Additionally, I hope that the very short section of boom needed to protect Mahogany Mill Pond is put in place soon. I would be delighted to meet with or discuss my concerns with anyone interested.

Bob Kriegel