Gaetz Says Response Overdue for Northwest Florida

State Senator Don Gaetz (R-Destin) spoke at a Gulf Breeze Area Chamber of Commerce meeting on Wednesday, telling local officials and citizens that the $25 million given by BP for Florida’s tourism must initially be used in our area.

“We were at day 35 and not one thing had been done by VISIT Florida or the Governor’s office to do anything for Northwest Florida,” he said.

Gaetz noted that he went to the state cabinet to request a release of the funds to help our local tourist promotion.

Escambia has been given $700,000 for its TDC and Santa Rosa $500,000, with both counties being promised the possibility of those numbers being doubled after 45 days.

Only $5 million of the $25 million has been promised to Northwest Florida so far.

Gaetz said he’s concerned that the national media has created an image that won’t easily be repaired—adding to an already difficult recovery effort that will last for possibly more than a year.

“We’re in for a year long hurricane,” he said.


Santa Rosa County Commissioner Lane Lynchard said there are currently oil skimming boats 5-7 miles off the beach and that all booming operations would be completed by the end of work day on Wednesday.

According to officials, the City of Gulf Breeze currently has two pontoon boats and a speeder dispersing more than 6,000 feet of turbity curtain—going beneath the water 4-5 feet to collect oil—in inshore waters.

Today, local fisherman were already reporting tar mats as large as 3-feet in length within six miles of Pensacola Pass.