May 20th, 2010
04:16 PM ET
13 years ago

Congresswoman: Florida still open for business

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption ="Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen said Thursday that Florida beaches are open for business."]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

Filed under: Economy • Florida
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. grrace

    You know what, "drill, baby, drill" congresswoman? YOU can EAT it, YOU can SWIM in it. CHOKE on your own stupidity for all I care.

    May 20, 2010 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  2. Ricefarmer

    Sorry about your state Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. But what the hey? Drill Baby... er... Spill Baby Spill!

    May 20, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  3. Dano

    The only good that will come from this disaster is that Floridians will remember why we had a moratorium on drilling off our coast for over 30 years until the Republican controlled Congress let it expire a few years ago. Lest you think I'm being too partisan, President Obama really blew it when he decided to allow oil exploration off the Atlantic seaboard just a few weeks before the spill. I hope he's learned something and won't repeat this mistake. As the images of dead and dying oil-covered birds, fish, dolphins and sea turtles are broadcast around the country, maybe America will begin to see the folly in trying to drill our way to energy independence and will decide to make the needed investment to develop sustainable, clean energy sources.

    May 20, 2010 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  4. Aaron

    The woman supports off-shore drilling, so I'm sure that she'll urge tourists to come visit Florida even after the oil slicks hit the beaches there. I can hear her come-on line now..."Visit Florida, the oil's not too bad on our once beautiful beaches. A little bit of detergent will clear out any oil stuck between your toes." Too bad a little bit of detergent wouldn't clear out her thought processes.

    May 20, 2010 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  5. vgal

    Just like a republican to not care about anything other than profit. Who cares about potential long-term health issues caused by eating fish, crabs, etc. contaminated with oil or swimming in beaches contaminated. After all, the state needs to continue to make money – so let's get those ignorant tourists down here to eat and drink what Floridians won't touch!!

    May 20, 2010 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  6. Papasan in AZ

    And the keys have lots of Oil Lime Pie...

    May 20, 2010 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  7. John

    I live on the beach in Florida (Daytona Beach) and must say that there is no pollution from the oil leak/spill on the eastern coastline. I was at Key Largo yesterday. Though CNN might want everyone to think the entire ocean is now polluted, the oil is contained in the Gulf of Mexico. This is definitely a tragedy and catastrophe, but it has not effected the east coast of Florida or any other state (except Texas). CNN should be ashamed of itself for spreading lies regarding the waters around Florida; the oil spill is definitely a disaster, but only directly effects the Gulf Coast.
    My prayers go out to those who rely on the Gulf for their livelihood.

    May 20, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  8. vahe

    ahhh your GOP??!!! i feel sorry for you because back in 2008 you were screaming drill baby drill!!!

    May 20, 2010 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  9. Brian L

    Dear Ileana,

    your party has dug this whole with the over reliance on oil.... All just to give the oil companies record profits, while destroying OUR environment and finding ROGUE regimes in Iran and formerly Iraq.... it is time to stop our addictions WE CAN do better!

    May 20, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  10. redneckbluedog

    Dear Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen,
    It's not the pollution or the's Marco Rubio.....

    May 20, 2010 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  11. Rick McDaniel

    No one should visit FL. The planes and cars should just stop getting.

    If FL doesn't like that, then they need to demand genuine change from Washington, to protect the environment.

    So far, Obama's "change" has been mostly about dictatorship to the American people. Time to make him accountable for doing some real good, instead of imaginary good.

    May 20, 2010 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  12. Steve (the real one)

    Can any of these politicians talk without the overly dramatic hand gestures?

    May 20, 2010 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  13. Chuck Anaheim, Ca

    I would think twice before getting in the water in the Gulf of Mexico right now. Way to much man made(dispersents) and oil pollution going on.

    May 20, 2010 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  14. Incredulous

    Does Florida have any glass bottom boats where you can sail out to the site of the disaster and see the geyser of oil erupting into the Gulf? Is there a tour of Florida mansions of BP officers and directors? Sounds like fun.

    May 20, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  15. CNN + corporate america = convenient relationship

    Of course the waters are "warm". Much warmer than before with all the oil in it, and much warmer than even before that with global warming. American corporations are racing to turn this planet into mars, and politicians are letting them do it.

    May 20, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  16. American Patriot -- a "real" tea partier

    Unfortunately, it may not last. It's possible that these beaches are in for a world of hurt.

    I can't blame them for wanting to salvage the tourist trade, but if the beaches get covered with oil, the summer's over.

    Florida needs to get in line to get money from BP if their tourist season gets flushed.

    May 20, 2010 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |