Commentary: Florida's beaches are clean

Finally, some good news from the Gulf of Mexico. Eighty-six days after a BP oil rig exploded, killing 11 men and unleashing a gushing oil well, the assault of the lethal plume has been temporarily capped.

The next step, if the cap on the well holds and no new leaks develop from mounting pressure, is to hook up one of two relief wells being drilled. The well will then be plugged for good -- we hope.

Recovery from this environmental and economic catastrophe could take a generation. Some ecosystems may never fully recover. BP and the federal government must be held accountable to make whole the many people whose livelihoods were hurt.

State officials must help Floridians adversely affected by the spill get their claims from BP's $20 billion liability fund -- and salvage the summer tourist season.

Labor Day will soon be upon us. It's usually the topper to a strong summer tourist season for the Panhandle and other popular beach destinations. But the summer has been dismal for Florida's tourism. Cable news networks' relentless -- and sometimes erroneous -- coverage made it look as though Florida's beaches were about to be inundated with gooey muck, discouraging would-be visitors.

To read the complete editorial, visit www.miamiherald.com.