MANATEE — Emergency officials intend to keep the county’s oil spill hotline open, even though it hasn’t gotten much use.
“We do intend to maintain the oil spill hotline,” explained Charlie Hunsicker, director of the Department of Natural Resources.
But he added: “We have not gotten a lot of calls.”
The hotline, (941) 749-3547, was activated last month so local citizens would be able to report any oil they might see washing up on shore here from the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
But so far, Manatee beaches remain serenely pristine.
The hotline will continue to be manned by a live person who can dispatch a local team to investigate whatever callers are reporting.
Since keeping the line open does not pose a great burden on county resources, it will remain available “for a period of time,” Hunsicker said.
“It doesn’t cost us any more to maintain it,” Hunsicker added.
The oil spill began in April after a fire and explosion at BP’s Deepwater Horizon well off the coast of Louisiana.
So far, it has polluted 640 miles along the Gulf Coast, none near the Tampa Bay area, according to the latest information from the U.S. Coast Guard.