The State of Florida has 22 people, from the Department of Environmental Protection, at the Unified Command in Mobile. Why didn’t they notify Escambia County and their bosses in Tallahassee about the oil in Perdido Pass? What the f#$@ are they doing? Who they are working for—us or BP?
As John Temperilli, a crisis consultant working with the county, said in the press conference–the Perdido Pass is the backdoor to Florida waters. Our action plans depended on good communication from the Unified Command. Escambia County lost five-six daylight hours to deploy boom to protect inland waterways.
This is inexcusable. I talked to Commissioner Grover Robinson last night as he was driving back from meeting with state officials in Tallahassee. Robinson was livid. He was greatly disappointed that no one notified county staff about the oil in the Intercoastal Waterway.
“Our staff has worked hard and this undermines all our plans and strategies,” Robinson.
He said Tallahassee is just starting to see that BP might be less than honest and straight-forward with them.
From the beginning I’ve preached that BP is not our friend, despite all the town hall meetings and PowerPoint presentations. Yesterday, a county official stopped me and said they now believe me–especially after this latest blunder.
Also know that we may not even known about this complete breakdown in communication if the EOC hadn’t screwed up and piped the call into the media room. Melissa Nelson (Associated Press), Jamie Page (PNJ) and I were the only reporters there.
What else happens on the conference calls that we aren’t told? I think all conference calls should be open to the media.
I do owe an apology to those who watched the 5 p.m. press conference. I lost my temper and let a cuss word fly. I get so tired of half-truths and carefully guarded statements to the media and public. I will do better.