Beast Corps: Notes on Meek’s Forum on Offshore drilling

From Beast Corps correspondent Logan Harrison:

• Arrived at 7:03
• Talked about being on the road all day, took bathroom break….
• Left Panama City this morning
• Took a panel to address the council he had present:
o Council members: Chasity Hobbs: Emerald Coast Keeper
o Richard Snyder, PHD: UWF environmental research
o Capt. Bob Zale’s II: National President of Charter Boat Operators
• Took questions from the crowd.
• Closed the meeting- thanked everyone for coming.
• Ends at 8:16

Some of Kendrick Meek’s points:
• Said he came to discuss oil on the beaches and what we should do
• Talked about coming as a Congressman and not as a Senate candidate
• He is calling for a halt on offshore drilling: in conjunction with Sen. Bill Nelson
• Is working with Sen. Nelson to stop offshore drilling completely
• He is a prime sponsor supporting raising the liability cap: “ Cap Legislation”
• Plans to go back to Congress to get some kind f bipartisan action on behalf of those affected by the oil spills
• We need to look at Katrina legislation, economic situation prior to the oil was bad
• We need to have more tools in place to fight against pro-drilling legislation
• The lack of regulation has killed people, failure of regulatory agencies, he takes responsibility for what has happened in response, as a representative of his people
o Says congress is a investigative body
• He is also a supporter of campaign finance reform
• Does not support the Arizona Immigration Law
• Meek leaves tomorrow to go to the command center in Mobile.
Capt. Bob Zale’s comments:
• National media is portraying the beaches as already having oil on them
• “Tourism is decimated”
• Long term impact is unknown
• BP claims numbers is “mass confusion”
• The social impact is driven by the financial impact. Suicide increased, bankruptcy increased, spousal abuse increased in the Valdez oil spill…we need money today to fix this today.
• In the Foley BP claim office you can put in a 5,000 claim but your crew could only put in a 2500 claim, this is only happening with Foley? Confusion about the claims is everywhere! (these could make good stories)
Richard Snyder comments:
• Scientist’s expertise is being offered but should have been used before hand.
• Much is being done to deal with the top of the water and pollution is still very much in the water column.
• A lot of oil has sunk, then begins to float, then forms clumps etc
• Scientists don’t know hoe much oil is being scattered through the water column.
• Dolphin Island has already experienced some oil on the beaches.
• Pensacola Beach may have oil because of the Continental shelf.
• UWF already has already set up stations on the beach, but agencies are having a large disconnect……
• He mentions that communication among everyone is essential
• The dispersants they are using kill plankton and larva in the ocean
• Quote: “Hysteria spreads faster than oil”
o Snyder mentions you, Rick’s blog, and Independent News at the meeting
• Quote: “Dispersants are a double-edged sword”

Chasity Hobb comments:
• Dispersants are giving us a false idea
• Dispersants make it hard to prepare, we cannot test the water for pollution by the dispersants or the fish
• We don’t have a clear idea how to prepare for water column cleanup- this is a health issue
• People need to make detailed documentation about claims they may put in with BP
• Mineral management is charged with collecting profits from drilling, but is also charged with keeping drilling safe- this is a huge conflict of interest.
o Meek Response: This is important, we need to have a regulatory body but it also important to separate these two things

Question Answer Period
• How can the Florida still be balanced?
• If you sign a contract with BP, don’t the contracts say you have to waive your rights to torc damages because of oil?
o As far as Meek knows, in all his governmental briefings, there in only one claim form
• Is there enough proof to prove negligence?
o There is currently a lot of investigation into negligence!
• Isn’t all ecosystems affected by the oil spill, shouldn’t we deal with this as fast as possible?…Not just the oil on the top of the process
o Yes, this is not only a economic but a environmental issue

Quotes by Kendrick Meek
• “ How do we get ahead if this misinformation”
• “25 million dollars is a drop in the bucket….”
• “ We must stand up to these individuals and to these companies”
• “ What was in place…was not enforced”
• “The truth is that we are in this for a long time”
• “We are writing the book as we go”
• “Folks don’t want government intervention until it affects them”
• “When you deal with problems, you need to run towards them”
• “Politics has trumped public policy…..this is a bipartisan issue when it comes to rebounding”