Politics of the (oil) slick, Thursday edition
So much oil. So many politicians. Just one day.
Today started out with U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek saying the state needs more than $25m from BP for an ad blitz to say all's well in Florida. Gov. Charlie Crist, Meek's opponent in the U.S. Senate race, had pressed for the money from BP.
Crist later extended his emergency declaration by adding several South Florida coastal counties to the list of those that could be affected from the oil slick: Charlotte, Lee, Collier, Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach. Now every county from the Panhandle to the Gold Coast is covered.
In Washington, the man whom Crist appointed Sen and hopes to replace, George LeMieux, got in a tussle with Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu when she tried to block Florida from getting a share of some oil-cleanup disaster money. Lots of hard feelings in Louisiana when states like Florida got oil slick-halting booms when Louisiana needed it more.
Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum, running to replace Crist as governor, wrote a letter to BP demanding that it accept resposibility for oil troubles in the event of a hurricane. McCollum later scheduled a Friday presser in Miami.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Bronson announced with Chairman Rodney Barreto of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission that the summer oyster harvesting areas in the Apalachicola Bay System will open 11 days early (Friday at 12:01 a.m.) to give fisherman some chance to make some money.
And Senate President Jeff Atwater, running for state CFO, sent Crist a letter asking for details about how the $25m in marketing money would be spent: I am told that a Memorandum of Understanding between BP and the State exists but has yet to be executed. I would respectfully urge your office to share with the citizens of this State exactly how these funds are to be transmitted to and received by the State, how they will be spent, who will drive the process of distribution, how decisions on deployment will be made, and who will be asked to participate in that decision making. It would be helpful to have one person designated to make timely decisions, and a central repository of data which would be made available to the residents of this State. We should be able to track these funds and identify the accountable parties, as well as determine what, if any, responsibilities various parties throughout the State may be asked to assume. The greater the lead time to prepare, the higher quality and more timely the response.