EOC: More Vessels Skimming In Bay

Escambia County Chief of Emergency Management John Dosh said at today’s EOC afternoon briefing that more skimming vessels had entered Pensacola Pass and that a lot of oil that had entered the Sound had been skimmed or had evaporated.

“There is still some streaming mouse in the bay, but the tide is taking it out,” he said.

Dosh said the major concern was the subsurface oil, which the county believes is causing tar balls in inshore waters.

Commissioner Gene Valentino told media that there are currently 125 vessels either skimming or staged in our area. Roughly 25 are skimming inshore. He noted that 115 boats from the county had been contracted into the BP Vessels of Opportunity Program and 500 workers in total were in place from Navarre to the Alabama line.

Valentino said Pensacola Beach remained clear today, while weathered oil lingered just two miles off of Alabama Pass.

U.S. Senator George LeMieux and U.S. Congressman Jeff Miller were also in attendance for the press conference.

Both asked President Obama today to waive portions of the Jones Act to “allow more resources to take part in oil mitigation activities in the the Gulf.”

LeMieux said he was looking forward to sitting down with the President to not only talk about the financial obligations of the disaster, but the current use of dispersants in the Gulf of Mexicio, which he said causes great concern for the environment.

The IN asked what he thought would be the best option to break apart the oil, with the Senator saying he would like to see more concentration on skimming instead of using toxic chemicals that will sink to the bottom and create plooms.

“We know that the ploom is right off the coast (underwater)…it’s the sea monster out there,” he said. “We think some of it is weathered oil.

“But what we really need are these skimmers that can scoop up ocean oil. I don’t want this oil that is in the water column to effect our generations to come.”

Congressman Miller focused on the claims process, saying that he’d ” like to see the feds playing umpire.” He said he wouldn’t be opposed to a third party getting involved to expedite the process of dispersing funds, but only if the government was involved to oversee it.