DAUPHIN ISLAND, AL - MAY 15: Logan Heyne, 5, waits for workers to pass by as they search the beach for tar balls to be picked up as they wash ashore from the Deepwater Horizon site on May 15, 2010 in Dauphin Island, Alabama. Oil continues to leak out of the Deepwater Horizon wellhead as BP works on slowing the leak and containing the oil in the Gulf of Mexico. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Logan Heyne
So as "Oil Watch" keeps Floridians and tourists alike watching what looks like looped web video of black bubbles spewing from a busted pipe in the gulf, Miami congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen wants you to know the Atlantic down here is oil-free.
Almost sounding like a BP executive (or at the very least a TV commercial), Ros-Lehtinen told her colleagues on Capitol Hill that South Florida's waters are as crystal clear as ever and there is no need to fear being covered in tar as you emerge from a quick dip.
"Public beaches in my Congressional district of Miami and the Florida Keys are open—their waters warm and inviting," she said during a C-SPAN telecast. "C'mon down. The water's fine."
Forget scientists' predictions that oil will surround South Florida in a matter of days. And clearly that notice Gov. Charlie Crist signed Thursday declaring a state of emergency for South Florida isn't worth the paper it was printed on.
We can't fault Ros-Lehtinen for holding out false hope to keep the visitors pumping cash into South Beach. We'd volunteer to jump into the oil-infested waters if it meant boosting the local economy.
At some point politicians have to face the ecological reality. The oil is coming.
But we invite Ros-Lehtinen to be the first to dive in when (and if) it gets here.