Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum and Congressman Jeff Miller spoke today at the Escambia County Emergency Operations Center. McCollum had heard that 120 skimming vessels were headed to the Gulf of Mexico, only to be corrected by BP representative who said that BP COO Doug Suttles had only approved 20 and they would take two-three weeks to get here.
McCollum was also upset about the lack of authority over cleanup operations and that new technologies aren’t being used in the clean-up and containment of the BP oil.
“Why I are we waiting? Why is the Coast Guard waiting? Why is President Obama waiting? Why is BP waiting?” said McCollum.
BP had no representative at the press conference to answer any questions. I have now made a standing request for BP to be present at all future press conferences. Commissioners Grover Robinson and Kevin White agreed and plan to make it a standard request from the BOCC, too.
Congressman Jeff Miller talked about the $1 billion escrow fund that he has been asking BP to set up since early May. Nothing has happened on this. In fact, Commissioner Robinson says the county has gotten any of the $25-million block grant that was announced in May. The only BP funds received have been $700K for tourism advertising.
I asked AG McCollum was he planning any legal action against BP to force them to more forthcoming with money, equipment and information? He said no…maybe later after we see if BP pays the claims.
Instead of focusing on anything they can do from their elected offices, McCollum and Miller focused on the federal government and its slow reaction to this crisis. Some of their ire was directed toward BP, but not much.
I have much more to write on this, but have another meeting to attend. I’ll update this a little later.