Connie Rockco delivers "state of Harrison County" address - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Connie Rockco delivers "state of Harrison County" address

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

By Steve Phillips – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Harrison County board of supervisors president Connie Rockco gave a "state of the county" speech on Thursday.

She addressed about 300 people during a chamber of commerce luncheon. Along with budget concerns and wastewater issues, the oil crisis was a primary topic.

"Wouldn't you think a multi billion dollar business, such as the oil industry, would have an arsenal of weapons, the latest technology to protect you, the environment and our way of life? Don't you think that should happen? Don't you think it?" Supervisor Rockco asked the audience.

She showed the most emotion when talking about the coastal crisis. And received the loudest ovation when talking about BP's oil waste disposal plan; dumping the oily by-product into the county's Pecan Grove landfill, despite repeated opposition from supervisors.

"I will say that landfill is for Harrison County's municipal waste. It is not for BP's waste. That is not our fault; it's not our responsibility. That is valuable landfill space that we need to use for our future," she said.

Rockco said images of shoveling oil patties from the shoreline or wiping oily residue from marsh grasses are disheartening and embarrassing in a country with such great minds and technology.

"People have died for us to have the wealth we have. And we have a rag and a shovel picking up oil off our beaches? I'm embarrassed. I don't want the rest of the world to see that. But they are."

She singled out EOC Director Rupert Lacy and sand beach director Bobby Weaver, calling them heroes for tracking down and testing oil prevention and clean-up technologies such as Gunderboom and material to protect the jetties.

"We've been out there knocking ourselves out. We're not petroleum engineers. We are not spill control experts. And BP has not brought one item to the table, except that boom I told you about," she explained.

Supervisor Rockco will share stories about the oil crisis response with the National Association of Counties convention in Reno, Nevada this weekend.

Besides dealing with the oil crisis, Supervisor Rockco said one of the biggest issues facing Harrison County is trying to get everyone water and sewer service.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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