Local reaction to President's speech - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Local reaction to President's speech


By Krystal Allan – bio | email

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Charter boat captains, researchers and conservationists gathered in the WLOX conference room as the President gave his address on the oil spill Tuesday night.  Among the points that stood out in the President's speech, the appointment of former Mississippi governor and Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus to oversee a long-term Gulf Coast Restoration Plan.

"I think that was one of the best things I heard tonight. We have somebody that's going to lead the recovery program that we all know and trust and can depend on in this region," said Louis Skrmetta, Charter Boat Captain.

Tom Becker, the president of the Mississippi Charter Boat Captains Association says it's important that government not overlook those on the ground dealing with the disaster when crafting the plan.

"They got to get with our local senators, local people and local governments. They got to get the local governments involved because they have ideas," says Becker.

Researchers and conservationists say the focus on long-term recovery and solutions could set a new precedent in how we approach the protection of the Gulf.  It could also help the Gulf garner the recognition it deserves as a vital ecological system.

"I'm happy for the attention it(the Gulf)is getting, but I'm devastated for the reason it's getting that attention. It's a diverse ecosystem that deserves the attention," says Dr. Bill Hawkins, Gulf Coast Research Lab director.

Those gathered say they support the President's efforts to establish a long-term plan to restore the coast.  But, they wanted to hear more specifics on how such a plan will unfold.

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