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Date of Issue: June 16, 2010

Local oil-filter idea gets noticed

A BP employee last week took notice of Longboat Key resident Tom Mayers’ proposal to protect fragile areas of Sarasota Bay in the event Deepwater Horizon oil moves into the area.

Diane Haser, who owns property on Anna Maria Island, is a financial analyst with British Petroleum, the company that was leasing the Deepwater Horizon well when an explosion April 20 caused a massive leak.

Haser read Mayers’ suggestion that filters — absorbent curtains or nets — be hung low on drawbridges in the area to keep any oil from washing into local bays and the Intracoastal Waterway.

Mayers, an environmental consultant who specializes in mangroves care, had suggested in The Islander June 9 that “bridges really are where the water comes and goes. So, we can use the structures we have to collect the oil.”

Haser took notice. She is not directly involved with the effort to close the well or clean up the oil, but, she said she has “access to upper management and I want to help.”

Mayers told The Islander that he too hoped he could help and planned to work with Haser.

“I have talked to friends in Pensacola and they say that it is worse than they had imagined that it would be,” he said.

Since the spill began, BP and the federal government have been inundated with suggestions from people around the world.

BP has reported receiving more than 80,000 suggestions — about 60 percent of them recommendations on stopping the leak and 40 percent ideas on cleaning up the oil.

Two months into the disaster, the number of ideas is rising, not diminishing, said a BP spokesperson.