Washington (CNN) - A member of the Florida congressional delegation is urging tourists to continue visiting the Sunshine State, even as BP and the Obama administration scramble to stem the flow of oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico.
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican who represents Miami Beach and the Florida Keys, said Thursday that beaches in those areas are open for business.
"Their waters are warm and inviting," Ros Lehtinen said in a speech on the House floor. "Charter boat captains eagerly await the opportunity to take tourists deep sea fishing. [D]ive shops stand by to take visitors on a tour of some of the greatest underwater treasures in this world, the Florida Keys coral reefs."
But the sales pitch didn't stop there.
"It is important to note that fresh caught fish from our Sunshine State is just as fresh as ever as are our stone crabs, spiny lobster and shrimp," Ros-Lehtinen said. "Recent news reports caused a premature panic for visitors. And while it's important that coastal communities prepare for the possibility of oil coming ashore, Florida is open for business. Come on down. The water's fine."
The congresswoman's plea comes on the same day that the Environmental Protection Agency ordered BP to find another chemical dispersant to use on the Gulf Coast oil spill amid concerns about the long-term effects of the substance now being used.
– CNN's Virginia Nicolaidis contributed to this report