SARASOTA — Gov. Charlie Crist on Thursday saw first-hand the oil-eating product that Osprey Biotechnics produces and says is capable of treating the Gulf oil spill.
The governor accepted the Sarasota company’s invitation to visit the 20,000 square-foot facility as Osprey Biotechnics is trying to get its product Munox into the Gulf of Mexico to clean up oil-contaminated water and sand.
“When I received your call I was anxious to chat, get back to you and learn more about your product,” Crist said.
Company officials on June 10 invited Crist to the Sarasota facility.
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During a 40-minute afternoon visit, Crist started out sitting at a conference room table with Osprey Biotechnics executives who were surrounded by about 15 media representatives.
Sitting at the head of the table, Crist listened to company officials explain the makeup of Munox and its ability to speed up petroleum degradation by consuming the oil and breaking it down to harmless substances.
“This spill is so mammoth, but we know we can begin to demonstrate proof of performance of this product,” said Victoria Finley, vice president of business development at Osprey Biotechnics. “We know that we have a product that can perform effectively.”
From there, Crist put on a white lab coat and toured Osprey’s research and development labs. Accompanied by about seven Osprey executives and two of the governor’s security personnel, Crist was followed from room to room by reporters and cameras as he saw the bacteria-breeding process.
Osprey officials estimate that a little more than 100 55-gallon drums would cover about 4,000 square miles.
“I’m very impressed with what I’ve seen,” Crist said. “Obviously, we are dealing with the most difficult environmental catastrophe in our history. We’re into this almost 60 days. It’s very difficult and very trying and it’s important that we are all hands on deck in finding a solution.”
However, the application of Munox still needs consideration and review from federal and BP officials. Osprey is still waiting for BP to respond to a product solution application it submitted within days after the April 20 Deepwater Horizon explosion.
Crist said his weekly conference with President Obama and the White House could be an opportunity to discuss Osprey’s product with federal officials.
However, that is contingent upon a briefing Crist will have with Florida Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Mike Sole. Crist said he expected to discuss Osprey with Sole either Thursday evening or today.
“I don’t know, I’m not a scientist. I’m very impressed by what I’ve seen, but Secretary Sole is the scientist and I will let him talk with the company,” Crist said.
Sole talked with Osprey officials via a conference call Thursday afternoon after Crist’s visit.
“Secretary Sole is taking into consideration and reviewing the particulars about the Munox formulation and its applicancy to this material and determining the potential for an application fit,” Finley said.