KEY WEST, Fla. — Gov. Bob Martinez refused today to allow a wandering barge filled with 3,000 tons of New York garbage to dock in Florida and appointed a task force to examine whether the cargo poses a health hazard.
It was the latest rejection for the barge in more than a month of seeking a place to dump its load. The barge was anchored about five miles south of Key West today. Jim Marshall, a federal Environmental Protection Agency spokesman, said federal and New York state officials inspected the cargo today to ensure it is not hazardous. "They're going to report back, and it is probably going to be a day or two before they do anything. We are not involved in any way after this. It's up to the owner" to dispose of the cargo, Marshall said.