If oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico from BP's Deepwater Horizon spill reaches the shores of Long Island, it won't happen until after the summer tourist season is over, Suffolk officials said Monday.

Carrie Meek Gallagher, the county's environment and energy commissioner, said it would take months for the oil to migrate from the Gulf of Mexico up the eastern seaboard and it remains unclear whether it would reach Long Island shores at all.

Gallagher's comments came after a meeting of County Executive Steve Levy's top deputies on how to prepare for the possibility of BP oil reaching the region.

Levy called the meeting after Legis. Tom Cilmi (R-Bay Shore) proposed last week legislation to require county officials to develop an oil spill plan. Cilmi, who attended the meeting, said "nothing substantive happened in the meeting."

Gallagher and Tom Isles, Levy's planning director, emerged after 90 minutes and said they will base the county's response on a 1981 county report called "Oil Spill Response Action Plans in Moriches West."

Isles said the geography and physical aspects of the 1981 report still apply, though technology advances in the last three decades will change how the county responds. "This will serve as an important reference point," he said.

Gallagher said the county will focus on preventing oil from reaching county inlets and wetlands, where it would become more difficult to extract.

"If it washes up on the shore you can contain it," she said. "Once it's dispersed into estuaries you could be looking at a decade-long cleanup."

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