SoBe Officials: We Are Not Prepared for Oil

Chamber of Commerce says Miami Beach needs more time to handle oil spill

South Beach usually has a year to prepare for events like Lady Gaga concerts or Memorial Day weekend, but tar balls are another issue entirely.

As the state braces for the first drips of oil to reach the coastline, Miami Beach business leaders said the city just isn't ready to deal with the impending oil spill. There is no tangible plan, Jerry Libbin, president of the Chamber of Commerce said.

"It's not very comfortable," he said. "Trust me. I'm a doctor."

South Beach businesses may need more than a prescription for headaches once the oil reaches South Florida, which is expected to happen within a week. Tar balls have been spotted less than 10 miles from the Panhandle and the wind could push it south over the next week.

So far, no detailed plan has been presented to the world-famous hotels and bars that consider the sandy beaches their economic lifeline. Hotels are starting to formulate plans on how to handle things like cancellations and the PR backlash once the black and brown ooze washes ashore.

The U.S. Coast Guard said there is a contingency plan in place that includes an oil spill and it would be utilized if necessary, but no plans have come from city officials on how to handle the environmental and economic impacts if the oil spill.

"We don't' have details. What's going to happen," Libbin said.

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