BP says county boom contracts excessive

BP Incident Commander Bryant Chapman sent Florida DEP Secretary Mike Sole an email on June 30 regarding a request for reimbursement of $3.5 million of the operational costs incurred by Escambia County that were “above and beyond the costs covered by the $50 million granted to the state of Florida.” Chapman gave Sole a list of expenditures that BP would not reimburse.

BP, as we have reported before on this blog, has already rejected water sampling, beach monitoring, and the use of the ECSO helicopters for marine observation as “duplicative of existing UAC (Unified Area Command) activities.” Chapmen reaffirmed those denials in his email.

For the helicopters to be reimbursable, the Sheriff’s Office would have to hand them over to the UAC and have them “fully integrated into the overall response plan approved by the UAC.” They would be then coordinated via Tyndall AFB—-not our County EOC.

The biggest expenditures that Chapman rejected were the booming contracts with DRC and Roads, Inc (Yes, the road contractor is now a boom vendor). As I posted on the blog back in May, DRC has a contract to furnish, install and maintain 18″ hard containment boom – 20,000 feet at $2.42 per foot per day for 30 days. This isn’t a purchase agreement the County rents it. DRC was paid $1,238,893.35 for the boom rental for the period 5/4-5/31.

Roads (under the name Shoreline Protective Services, LLC) has a similar contract, for a lesser rate, to provide the boom used in Little Sabine Bay.

Chapman wrote DEP: “Boom was contracted at rates above market levels and used a rental agreement versus the preferred method of purchasing.”

BP agreed to reimburse the county for $1.9 million for the initial boom rental from DRC and Roads, but said DEP and the County need to renegotiate the boom rental for July and going forward.

County officials have told me that they have contacted both DRC and Roads/Shoreline and are renegotiating those agreements.

Note: BP appears to be controlling the decision-making of DEP and Escambia County. It appears DEP didn’t want to pay Escambia County out of the $50M it was given by BP to help local governments battle the oil disaster. How is DEP using the $50M?