Ashton calls for $25M bond for Bayou Chico

Proposes $25 Million Surety Bond From BP to Protect Bayou Chico Property

June 10, 2010 – (Pensacola, FL) Ashton Hayward challenged Pensacola Mayor Mike Wiggins to act quickly to protect Pensacola citizens and property owners from risks associated with BP’s cleanup operations at Bayou Chico. The Pensacola Mayor candidate and businessman challenged Wiggins to stop “playing nice” with BP and their contractors, and start putting the interests of Pensacola residents first.

“After weeks and weeks of BP’s half-truths, misinformation, and public relations smokescreens, it’s time for Mayor Wiggins and the City Council to take immediate, emergency action to protect Pensacola,” Hayward said. “It’s been two weeks since the City Attorney presented a plan to ensure that BP and their contractors don’t cut and run on Pensacola. We’ve listened to 52 days of BP’s empty rhetoric, oil is in the Perdido Pass, and our inshore waterways are threatened. Now is not the time to be naive, it is time to lead.”

At the City Council’s May 27th meeting, City Attorney Rusty Wells presented a memo to the Mayor and Council that detailed the City’s ability to require a surety bond from BP and its clean-up contractors. This bond would essentially serve as an insurance policy to reimburse the city for any damages associated with the BP clean-up operations on Bayou Chico.

Hayward called on the Mayor to immediately hold an emergency City Council meeting to discuss and fast track an ordinance to obligate BP and its contractors to a cash bond of $25 million, to be held in a super-regional bank located in Pensacola.

To date, no official action has been taken by the Mayor on this issue. The Mayor currently has the authority to call an emergency meeting of the City Council to take up this issue before the next scheduled Council meeting on June 21. Wiggins has failed to exercise this option, leaving Pensacola unprotected and citizens potentially on the hook for economic losses in the event of accidents or property damage by BP or its contractors.

Hayward called on Wiggins to stand up for Pensacola. “We are talking about a company that made $4 billion dollars in just the last quarter of 2009. It’s embarrassing that while other cities are taking on BP for inadequate cleanup, while the national media is reporting on BP’s history of environmental and safety violations, and while the federal government is considering criminal charges against BP, our Mayor is trying to be a nice guy and he’s trusting BP to take care of things for us,” Hayward said.

“We’ve had enough soft-peddling. This is not the time to make friends. It is time for action. Mayor Wiggins, call this Council together and take a stand for Pensacola!”