Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum released a statement today regarding his feelings on the state being excluded from a meeting with the U.S.
Department of Justice and other states affected by the oil spill:
“U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to exclude the State of
Florida from today’s meeting of Attorneys General on the impacts of the oil
spill in the Gulf of Mexico is concerning. The Administration has not
demonstrated clear competence in responding to this unprecedented
environmental disaster since the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig on
April 20, 2010.
“I am disappointed the President and his Attorney General didn’t appear to
see the Deepwater Horizon incident as a severe threat to Florida’s economy
and environment, even though according to the latest tracking reports, the
oil spill could likely impact our coast within days. With more than 1,260
miles of coastline, Florida has more coastline than any other state in the
continental United States and our environment is a key driver in many of
the industries that comprise the foundation of our economy.
“Fortunately, our office has been engaged with British Petroleum since the
onset of this disaster, pursuing relief for Floridians and Florida
businesses and making the company aware of our intent to aggressively
recoup all costs to the state. Governor Crist and I recently established a
working group headed by former Attorneys General Jim Smith and Bob
Butterworth. Together, we are weighing all of our options as this disaster
continues to unfold.
“As we mark the first day of the 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season, we must
turn our efforts to preparing for any tropical activity that could
distribute this oil far and wide, even inland in a worst case scenario.
Over the weekend, in response to my letters of May 20th and 25th, I
received BP’s written assurance that “[i]f any weather event causes oil
from this spill to impact the state of Florida directly, [BP has committed]
to clean up that oil and to pay legitimate claims arising from that direct
impact…” My office will continue to ensure BP lives up to its