At the 4:30 pm press conference yesterday, Commissioner Grover Robinson said the Friday and Saturday are expected to be bad days in regards to the BP oil disaster. Bad days for Escambia County. The winds will be from the south and southwest, driving the oil plumes to our shores.
Robinson was upset that BP and the Unified Command reneged on a yet another contingency plan. Last week they had committed to running night operations with the skimmers. Yesterday they told the EOC that skimmers would resume at first light.
“We’ve lacked clarity and consistency (from Unified Command),” said Robinson. “The rules are constantly changing.”
The commissioner said that the county has hired its own Vessels of Opportunity to watch Perdido and Pensacola passes. The vessels are working 24/7.
“BP said it wants to make it right,” said Robinson. “They can make it right if they provide funding. put money in escrow for us to draw down.”
When pressed about Gov. Crist and state government not allocating any of the $25-million BP block grant for battling the oil, Robinson said, “All I can express is disappointment. The OPA (Oil Protection Act) never contemplated a disaster of this magnitude.”
He talked about the maddening lack of communication with the Unified Command in Mobile. Robinson held up his Blackberry.
“If something is happening in Escambia County or EOC, I get a text message,” said Robinson. “I get information constantly. If it doesn’t apply to me, I can delete and scroll down to the next message. You can’t tell me that (Unified Command) doesn’t have the same technology.”
Robinson and many of the county staff showed signs of fatigue. The long hours are wearing on them.
“We are victims of our geography,” lamented Robinson as he closed the press conference.
BP had no representative at the EOC or at the press conference.