BP Disaster Escambia County

Mr. Robinson Goes to Washington

February 9, 2012

After a week in D.C., his layover at the Atlanta airport must have seemed almost calming.

“Gawww-lee,” said Escambia County Commissioner Grover Robinson. “Washington is crazy.”

Robinson was returning from Washington D.C. Wednesday night after a trip to the Beltway to push the RESTORE Act—Gulf Coast legislators’ attempt to direct a majority of the fine money collected from BP following the 2010 oil spill to the areas the spill impacted as opposed to into a general federal pot.

“I don’t know what’s going to end up happening,” Robinson said.

The commissioner has been Escambia’s voice on many spill issues. During this most recent trip to Washington, he said the experience was “like a roller coaster” and that at one point “I felt like a truck had run over me.”

Robinson said he did feel “optomistic again” by the end of his trip.

“They’re not telling us it’s impossible,” he said. “But they’re telling us it’s going to be different.”

Unlike most things in national politics these days, the RESTORE Act seemed to have wide support from members of both parties when Gulf Coast lawmakers unveiled it last fall. And while support still exist, there’s also opposition from both Republicans and Democrats.

“They’re are supporters on both sides and there are detractors on both sides,” Robinson said. “It’s strange.”

The commissioner said there are a couple of reasons legislators are opposing the act: money and politics.

“They either want something from it,” he said. “Or, they generally fear that if it passes it will make the other side look good—that’s both sides.”

Robinson also said it was important to get the RESTORE Act passed prior to any settlement the federal government may strike with BP. The accounting apparently gets tougher at that point, with the numbers being strained through a federal calculator.

“Once it becomes a federal situation it becomes almost impossible,” Robinson said, before catching his plane back to Pensacola.

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