Mississippi's attorney general encourages "oil prevention" actio - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Mississippi's attorney general encourages "oil prevention" action


By Steve Phillips – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Attorney General Jim Hood says Harrison County leaders need the flexibility to be more proactive with oil prevention. He met with elected leaders Thursday, assuring them he'll ask BP to foot the bill for those prevention measures.

Local leaders say there are plenty of good ideas and products to battle the oil threat. They simply need the authority and more importantly the money to pursue them.

"It's not here yet, but I suspect by August we'd better be prepared to know what we're going to do for those back bays," said Attorney General Jim Hood, meeting with elected leaders in Harrison County.

"When folks come in here with these products and you say man this looks wonderful, let us get approval, we take it to the incident command center in Mobile and that's the last we hear about it," said Supervisor Kim Savant.

Local leaders shared frustrations over the oil spill effort with Mississippi's attorney general. Like the Mayor of Long Beach ordering boom for the harbor five weeks ago.

"To go around our harbor. To be prepared, even if we leave the mouth of the harbor open until we're actually threatened with oil. But to have it sitting here. And we have yet to get a response," said Mayor Billy Skellie.

"And what we're hearing across the coast is that the city and county officials are going to have to act if they're going to keep this stuff off the beach. We saw what happened in Louisiana," said Stan Flint, who represents a company that distributes an oil fighting product.

Attorney General Hood said Harrison County and its cities should be allowed to deploy oil prevention products, like the marsh barriers being used in Ocean Springs.

"We can't wait until it gets here to say, okay we need you all to approve this. This needs to be approved now," urged supervisor William Martin.

The attorney general said BP should pay for products that keep the oil away.

"We can get an answer yea or nay, that we'll pay this much to test it. And we're talking directly with them," said Hood.

Biloxi's mayor said, show me the money.

"I don't think we need a letter. I think they need to deposit $100 million, or whatever you think it's going to take, in Jackson and let it be distributed as needed, here," said Mayor A.J. Holloway.

"We're not any different from the State of Mississippi as far as funds go. We don't have $5 million sitting out here that we can put at risk without thinking we're going to get reimbursed and nobody will tell us we can use it," said Savant.

The group allowed to let Harrison County take the lead in pursuing oil prevention products. EOC director Rupert Lacy will review what's available and report back with a cost estimate.

Attorney General Hood will talk with BP about footing the bill.

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