BP community meeting tonight in Ocean Springs - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

BP community meeting tonight in Ocean Springs


By Sylvia Hall – bio | email

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) –  Federal and BP officials are set to address the public's questions pertaining to the oil spill tonight in Ocean Springs at the Mary C. O'Keefe Cultural Center.  Community members are asked to bring their questions and their concerns to the meeting, set to begin at 6:00p.m. and last until 8:30p.m.

Officials from BP, the EPA, DMR and others are expected to answer as many questions as they can.  The Steps Coalition, the Sierra Club, the City of Ocean Springs and several other conservancy and community action groups are hosting the meeting.  Organizers said the meeting will also be taped so any unanswered questions can be addressed at a follow-up meeting.

"Post-Katrina, we had a lag in terms of federal response," said Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran.  "That's very fresh in people's minds.  So we don't want to sit on our hands and wait around.  We want to be prepared, we want to have the right information, we don't want to panic, but we want to understand what to expect and what we can do as citizens to help, if anything."

This meeting is one of many public outreach meetings offered in South Mississippi and Ocean Springs since the oil slick began to threaten our shores.   Moran said she believes the type of disaster the oil spill could bring requires careful planning and public information.

"Unlike Katrina, where volunteers could come from everywhere to cleanup, help people with their homes, rebuild their homes," explained Moran.  "This is different.  This is putting perhaps some people in harm's way if there are some toxic substances so people have to be trained in order to help."

Moran said she and other coastal officials have stayed in contact since the oil began its approach.

"It may be another 90 days before this is capped or there is some relief," said Moran.  "So long as there is a problem in the gulf and oil wellhead continues to flow, we just have to be prepared for everything.  The weather is paramount, the current the wind, we just don't know what to expect.  So we're going to make sure we have the proper booms in place for a first and second line of defense and then what to do afterward."

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