Sen. Baria: MS leaders need to do more about oil leak disaster - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Sen. Baria: MS leaders need to do more about oil leak disaster

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Senator David Baria is upset over the way the governor, lieutenant governor and other elected officials have, in Baria's opinion, downplayed the impact of the oil spill on coastal Mississippi.

Senator Baria recently sent a letter to Governor Haley Barbour, Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant, Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, and Congressman Gene Taylor expressing his feelings on the issue.

Baria said he understands the need to allay the fears and concerns of Mississippians and tourists.

"However, I do not think it is responsible to attempt to minimize a situation that in its current state constitutes an ongoing environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico," Baria wrote.

"Furthermore, I think it is irresponsible and insulting to tell residents of the Mississippi Gulf Coast that they are not in the midst of experiencing an environmental disaster of epic proportions. It is not helpful to advise Coast residents that what they have seen and smelled is not occurring or has not occurred. It is a fact that even if the oil never reaches the beach on Mississippi's barrier islands or further inland, an impact has been and will continue to be felt in Mississippi."

In his letter, Baria asks the leaders to take several action steps, including:

  • Obtain scientific studies on the environmental effects of the dispersant and the methodology currently being utilized to deploy it 
  • Activate the Mississippi National Guard and have them on standby as our sister states of Louisiana and Alabama have done 
  • Require BP to increase the number of working skimmer boats 
  • Require BP to supply more boom to protect fragile wetlands 
  • Explore other technologies to protect beaches and wetlands, such as the protective fence currently in place on Dauphin Island, Alabama 
  • Encourage Congress to raise the $75 million cap on BP's liability for the outcome of the spill 
  • Require BP to set aside as a reserve a sum of money sufficient to satisfy the potential liability claims on behalf of individuals, businesses and local governmental entities

"Of course, we all pray that the flow of oil will be stopped soon and that the cleanup efforts will be successful. However, it is the responsibility of leaders to prepare for all contingencies," Baria wrote.

Click here to read the full text of Sen. Baria's letter, or click here to watch David Elliott's interview with Baria on Monday's Four O'Clock Show.

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