…it’s an old political trick, but effective
MILLER ASKS OBAMA FOR MORE RESOURCES, MORE SKIMMERS, ‘OPPORTUNITY ZONE’ FOR FLORIDA
WASHINGTON, D.C.— U.S. Representative Jeff Miller (R-FL-01) today met with President Barack Obama on Pensacola Beach to discuss the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster and cleanup.
Miller asked the President that every resource, both national and international, be made available to assist in the cleanup operations. He also reemphasized the importance of BP setting up an escrow account to allow local governments to function and small businesses to stay afloat.
“I told him I remain concerned that inadequate resources are being dedicated to containing and removing oil from the Gulf before it reaches our fragile coastline,” Miller said. “Skimmers are not running around the clock, more booming is needed, new ideas are not being evaluated and implemented, and there is a severe communications crisis between Unified Command and state and local officials.”
Miller and U.S. Senator George Lemieux (R-FL) both asked President Obama to waive the Jones Act which would allow skimmer vessels from foreign countries to participate in the cleanup.
“There are numerous reports that confirm offers by foreign corporations or governments to send skimmer vessels to the Gulf have been refused as a result of concerns arising from the Jones Act, which regulates the use of foreign-owned vessels between U.S. ports,” Miller said. “Every gallon of oil we pick up at sea is a gallon that doesn’t hit the beach or pollute a bay.”
In the final minutes of the meeting, Congressman Miller asked President Obama for a Gulf Opportunity Zone for the entire affected area, including Northwest Florida, similar to those created after Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana in 2005. Businesses in the Opportunity Zone would be allowed emergency tax relief and residents would be able to apply for grants and reduced-interest loans to offset losses from the disaster.
“President Obama was very receptive to the proposals, and I look forward to working together for both short term and long term solutions to this crisis,” added Miller.