Saturday, June 12, 2010

Senators on Grand Isle

Four Senators came to Grand Isle yesterday to get a real look at what is going on here. Chris called us and got us into the press conference. The Senators were all members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environmental and Public Works.

Here are the notes that Ginger took during the press conference.

Senator David Vitter(R-LA): Until you see it first hand you can’t fully understand

1. Impact on wildlife is devastating and is still growing significantly

    1. There have been meetings and follow-ups with wildlife federations

2. Moratorium: working on lifting the moratorium??

Senator Barbara Mikulski(D-MD):

· Concerned that it could affect Maryland, “Our economy depends on your economy”

· Concerned for Grand Isle as a fellow coastal community

· Heart goes out to those who lost their lives and those who lost their livelihood

· Federal government needs to be tougher on oil companies and specifically BP

o Stop being sweet and lay down rules

o Safety measures for drilling need to be enforced

· There are many unanswered questions about containment that need to be answered

· Need to:

o Be as determined as the residents

o Make sure federal agencies are ensuring food is safe

o Ensure criminal activity is persecuted

· She is in it for the long haul as a coastal state

Senator Jeff Merkley(D-OR):

· Come see first hand to understand better

o Massive amounts of oil

o Pelicans covered in oil

o Oil boom coated in oil

· BP MUST be held accountable for the damage to the ecology, the economy, and people personally

Coast Guard Admiral Watson:

· This is a huge disaster

· Heart goes out to the families of the brave people who lost their lives

· This is a big thing to take on

· Federal Government going to be here for a long time

· Constantly trying to bring in more resources, changing tactics

Tom Strickland: Chief of Staff to Department of Interior Secretary; Assistant Secretary of Fish and Wildlife and Parks of the Department of Interior

· Important and significant disaster in a very important and significant ecosystem

· 50 million birds pass through this area of the Gulf

· Will be unrelenting, will hold BP accountable, will fix things

Grand Isle Mayor David Camardelle:

· “Can handle hurricanes, but this is a monster”

· Military has been wonderful

· Want to work closely with EPA

· Don’t want to waste BP’s or Government’s money

· June 1st started hurricane season—hurricane will result in 2ft high piles of oil

· Not going to quit

Responses to Questions:

· We need accurate numbers and estimates from BP

· Must do anything we can to move fast; must beat the storms

· BP needs a greater sense of urgency; need to utilize every conceivable defense.

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