OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Skimmers are still needed. That's the message stated by local leaders like Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran.
"I was very surprised to receive that letter," said Moran. "However, for contracts that had already begun, I'm assuming they will be followed through. So, I don't think it'll impact the production of the skimmers."
Up to this point, the state has not stopped the production of the 19 skimmers it contracted two local companies to build.
Spokesman Dan Turner from Governor Haley Barbour's office issued a statement saying, "We're assessing exactly what our needs are - both for right now and into the future. We'll adjust our skimmer purchasing accordingly."
The latest skimmer was welcomed on the water by a delegation of lawmakers visiting the coast from the northern part of the state.
"Our visit is to bring more awareness to folks from legislature from different part of the state so understand the adversity that folks on the coast are going through," says Representative Mark Duvall, House's Conservation and Water Resources Committee.
They learned about some of the features on the skimmer, like a new sensor device. Congressman Gene Taylor got Locus Traxx out of Washington, D.C. to partner with Overing Yachts on the project. These wireless sensors gather information on gas and oil beneath the surface and can relay it to scientists in real time.
"The oil is not gone and I think it's important that we not be too Polly Anna about it," said Mayor Moran. "You can just take a look at what's happening at the Barrier Islands and LaFountaine Beach. We're still getting lots of tar balls. It's submerged and in a storm situation it could very well get it in our marshes."
With threats like the tropical disturbance brewing in the Gulf, Moran says the coast must use all the skimmers and defenses at its disposal.