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Greene: BP should invest $100 Million a year for 10 years

Press Release: Jeff Greene Calls On BP To Invest $100 Million A Year For 10 Years In Escrow Account For Florida Reparation Due To Gulf Oil Spill
Funds to Aid with environmental clean up, economic recovery, public health issues and alternative energy
PENSACOLA, FL – On Tuesday, June 8, 2010, Jeff Greene, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, called on British Petroleum (BP) to invest $100 million dollars a year for 10 years in an escrow account that Florida can use for alternative energy, environmental clean up, economic recovery, tourism promotion, and health related issues as a result of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that has now reached the Florida coast. The full policy proposal is included at the end of this release.

“This is the worst environmental disaster in our country’s history. Now that oil from the BP spill has begun to wash onto Florida’s shores, I call upon BP to do the right thing and make a long-term commitment to the people of Florida and make a real financial commitment that will help secure our State’s economy, environment and public health,” said Greene.

The bold proposal by Greene was made during a sit-down discussion with local Pensacola business owners that are concerned for their livelihood due to the oil spill. The economic harm caused by the BP oil spill is a deep concern to Jeff Greene, who is running for U.S. Senate to create jobs and ensure economic security for the Sunshine State.

“Inadequate regulation by our elected officials in the pockets of big oil, and a complete and total failure to plan for this kind of accident, has placed our beaches and our waters, the lifeline of our state, in jeopardy. We need to be prepared for the long-term effects this will have on our State and hold BP accountable. And, while Charlie Crist tries to pretend he didn’t support off-shore drilling, we all know both Crist and Rubio supported drilling off the coast of Florida which is a huge mistake,” added Greene.

Meeting participants shared their concerns over how the oil spill would affect local businesses in the fishing, retail, food and tourism industries, just as the summer season gets underway.

“Given recent reports that BP does not expect to be able to fully halt the oil flow until August – BP has an obligation to the hardworking people of Florida whose lives and livelihoods are at stake, to put forth a long-term plan, and set aside the annual funds needed for Florida to address both the existing situation and future problems caused by this catastrophe,” said Greene.

As U.S. Senator, Jeff Greene has pledged to revitalize Florida’s economy, create jobs, and get real results. Jeff Greene is the only candidate in the U.S. Senate campaign who is an outsider, has successfully created jobs and won’t take a penny from any special interest and will always put Florida first.

Proposal:

BP should invest $100 million dollars a year for 10 years – $1 billion in total – to be put into an escrow account that Florida can use for environmental clean up, economic recovery, tourism promotion, health related issues, alternative energy and other issues that arise as a result of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that has now reached the Florida coast.

Background:

Governor Charlie Crist’s request for $100 million from BP for oil spill response is no where near enough to help fix this disaster. If BP’s systematic failure to cap the spread of oil before sheen and tar balls began polluting our pristine coastline has taught us anything, it is that there is no quick fix to this unprecedented economic, social, and environmental catastrophe. Moreover, given recent reports that BP does not expect to be able to fully halt the oil flow until August – BP has an obligation to the hardworking people of Florida whose lives and livelihoods are at stake to put forth a long-term plan, and set aside the annual funds needed for Florida to address both the existing situation by providing funds for out of work residents, protecting our shores and reducing the risks of such a catastrophe happening again.

Small business owners like Eilene Beard, co-owner of Pensacola’s oldest and largest scuba-dive operator, the Scuba Shack whose business is already down 80 percent, are seeing their entire livelihoods vanish overnight.

I know what it means to lose everything and I understand the struggle working families in Florida are going through. When I was young, my dad worked as a used textile machinery dealer until he lost his livelihood when the textile mills closed. My family then struggled to make ends meet and we moved to Florida nearly 40 years ago to try and rebuild what we had lost. This taught me how quickly one can lose everything – even after working hard and playing by the rules – and I firmly believe that no American should live with that fear and that BP has a responsibility to make sure that the livelihoods of Floridians aren’t destroyed by their irresponsible business practices.

I am outraged by the news that BP had contracted for $50 million worth of TV advertising to manage their image in the course of this disaster. This money should be going to assist the Pensacola residents who, in the absence of BP workers as the oil began to infiltrate their shores, took matters into their own hands this weekend to clean up the mess that BP made, removing buckets filled with tar balls from the beach and scrubbing oil soaked birds. People like Susan Pigott and her son Colten who, upon noticing the absence of BP workers on the beach, proclaimed: “Our home is going to be destroyed and no one is helping.”

Economic Impact:

• Already, Florida’s fishing, retail, food, and tourism industries have been threatened by the spill, as oil has begun to ravage the 1,260 miles of coastline along the Gulf of Mexico, which host tourist destinations, the fishing industry and sensitive ecosystem.
• Florida’s $60 billion dollar tourism industry is the state’s number one industry
• The livelihoods of nearly one million Floridians are directly dependent on the 80 million visitors who flock to Florida’s pristine beaches year after year. Fishing and tourism industries are now in crisis mode.
• Reservations are down at hotels and restaurants as tar balls begin washing up on other Florida beaches, and tourism officials say they constantly have to counteract the bad publicity.
• Business is already down 80 percent, and people are seeing their entire livelihoods vanish overnight.