Jackson Co. leaders ask BP for more local control - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Jackson Co. leaders ask BP for more local control


By Patrice Clark – bio | email

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - George Pickett loves to fish and hang out near Pascagoula's Beach, but worries that BP's oil spill is damaging the coastline. 

"This is a disastrous thing," Pickett said. 

About a mile away, BP's Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles was viewing the oily mess on the city's newly, expanded $12.4 million beach. 

"Look at the beach and understand that the beach is eroding now," Mayor Robbie Maxwell said. 

Mayor Robbie Maxwell and County Supervisor Mike Mangum walked and talked with Suttles as he toured the beach. The officials say they understand BP is trying its best to cap the spewing leak and clean Mississippi's sand beaches and waterways. But local leaders want to have more of a say in this process. 

"The governor has been talking in that direction for the last couple of weeks. We have seen some movement out of everybody involved about that control coming back to Mississippi, instead of us having work through the unified command in Mobile," Mangum said. "It takes a longer time to get a response."

Suttles agrees, local officials should have more of a hand in helping in this Coastal Crisis. He said no one knows Mississippi waters better than people who live here. 

"In many ways, we can bring the sort of know how, and the equipment, and the people, and resources. But they actually know things like when the best time to be out here is, how we create the least amount of interference," Suttles said. 

Suttles promised changes are coming soon at the local and state levels. 

"I could undo this event I would. I understand that fear and that frustration. What I am trying to do is do all we can to minimize it." 

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