Dear Mr. President,

We are told that you will be visiting Pensacola Beach soon. While we are grateful for the attention and sympathy, photo ops and nice speeches won’t make a difference here.

We have been lied to and let down by those responsible for this catastrophe and those who are sworn to protect us. As oil and tar balls creep upon our shores, as fishermen and charter boat captains see their livelihoods destroyed and as families worry about whether their lives will ever be the same, we have seen little action to truly protect us.

The BP strategy of delay covered by pleasant, but meaningless statements of concern has gnawed at our souls and nearly crushed our spirits. And while you and your administration seem to have ramped up your rhetoric, we still feel helpless against the tide of BP crude.

The residents of the Gulf Coast are hearty folk, willing to take on any challenge. We’ve not been defeated by hurricanes Ivan, Dennis or Katrina, but this time we haven’t been given the tools to fight back.

Mr. President, we need action. We need the Federal Emergency Management Agency activated to help local governments get reimbursed for their expenses related to this disaster and to handle the claims of businesses and individuals that are impacted. BP should pay for this operation by placing funds in escrow now.

We need you to expedite the Air Tanker contract for the Mobile, Ala. If the contract needs to be split with Boeing, then do it. We need the jobs now.

Please look at other opportunities for similar projects in Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida. We are a proud people, help us put food on our tables. We need hands up, not handouts.

Mr. President, I also ask that you not let up on British Petroleum. Eleven men died on the Deepwater Horizon rig. Their families deserve justice.


Rick Outzen