In a Thursday morning e-mail to local government leaders, a U.S. Coast Guard official acknowledged that what had washed up was being classified as subsurface oil -- something that cleanup officials have been slow to acknowledge.
"We've been saying there's submerged oil coming into (Perdido Pass) for some time and (BP PLC) completely dismissed our concerns and our accounts," said Orange Beach Mayor Kennon. "Hopefully this proves we're not a bunch of dummies."
We're with you on this one Mayor and admire the tough stance you have held on this from the beginning, unlike some of your nearby counterparts who have acted in concert with BPs PR machine. Which would include Bruce Freeman head of the Environmental Management Commission (EMC) along with certain news reporters in the Mobile Press-Register.
BP has rejected Orange Beach's claims because there were "no state regulators involved." They also state that they "do not believe" OBCRM Phillip West:
"BP keeps telling us there is no oil, to skim or otherwise, and we keep telling them there is," said Orange Beach Coastal Resource Manager Phillip West. "We're skimming it."
BP spokesman Ray Melick said that company officials "don't believe what the mayor's crew is finding is oil."
In the EMC meeting from June 25, 2010, ADEM Director Lance LeFleur states there have been "more than four hundred other people represented from Alabama agencies overwith--ADEM is the coordinating agency..." in the Mobile area in addition to "fitly-six rotating ADEM employees."
So, where the hell were they for Orange Beach Mayor Kennon? Bruce Freeman has moved his family down to the area, where was he to assist Mayor Kennon?
We think they were too busy trying to line their pockets and push the myth of the oil "disappeared" at the table of BP, their new master, to do what Director Lefleur says the state agencies mission is in part "..to protect some of the finest recreational areas along the Gulf." He goes on to say that "We've had minimal environmental damage...."
No wonder BP wants the state regulatory agency involved.
Mayor Kennon is trying again to meet the bar set by BP:
To resolve the dispute, Orange Beach, which is doing its own water quality testing independent of the BP-funded cleanup effort, has agreed, at the oil company's request, to call Alabama Department of Environmental Management scientists to skimming sites to collect samples for third-party analysis."There is a dispute between the two crews that we need to resolve," said BP spokesman Ray Melick. "The only way we know how to do that is science."
We believe he is making a mistake relying on ADEM, but he is left with no other option thanks to BP.
In another sidebar to this issue, Governor Bob Riley has come out criticizing Alabama AG Troy King for filing a premature lawsuit against BP. King claims that "BP has spent millions on public relations, but has not followed through on promises to accept responsibility for the disaster."
On that point we agree with King and think that Riley is attempting to delay things in an effort to protect BP, (money from side deals and state employees working for BP contractors, etc) and in doing so he gives BP time to cover their tracks and to continue stalling in paying claims--no court order, no big money gets paid out.
Both of these bumbling buffoons only have their interests in mind, but Mayor Kennon appears to be genuinely concerned for his community and citizens and we applaud him for that heartily. But, no good deed ever goes unpunished, especially in Alabama under the rule of King Riley and his "children" ADEM, EMC, big business and special interests.
Orange Beach has only its Mayor to hold BP accountable in this latest fight, because the state is conspicuously absent in supporting this community and Mr. Kennon.
Despite the government's acknowledgments, Orange Beach officials say they have had to battle to keep BP focused on cleanup."We're going to get very vocal and demand that they have resources down here to protect these beaches and back bays," Kennon said. "I really believe they're trying to sneak out the back door as soon as possible."
We bet King and Riley will be right behind them if they do, which would probably be sometime close to November when both "boys" terms end--here's to hoping the proverbial door hits all of them in the arse rendering them dazed until the court catches up with them and decides they all will look better in orange than green and black.