Beach Restoration: County Officials in Florida Want BP to Pay for New Sand


County officials across the Gulf Coast have learned that if they want to restore the local environment, they’d better get busy themselves and not wait around for state or federal officials. That’s why seven Northwest Florida counties are joining forces.

The Northwest Florida Daily News is reporting that “…administrators, attorneys and commissioners from Escambia to Gulf counties met in South Walton to discuss their unified response to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.”

Complete beach restoration before Spring Break, of course, is one of the top issues, and these local officials aren’t taking any chances when it comes to their beaches being clean. You can bet that oil or tar ball sightings during the height of Spring Break will become big TV news events, most likely inflicting even more damage on local businesses. To avoid that sort of PR nightmare, county officials want BP to pay for new sand – right now.

State Rep. Doug Broxson attended the meeting and “…told officials they need to formalize their coalition and view themselves as ‘giant slayers’ as they negotiate with BP.”

“We have to be a voice that’s heard all the way to Tallahassee,” said Broxson, R-Gulf Breeze. “We speak as one voice. …If we don’t do that, we’ve lost.”

Also making the trip to South Walton was Mayor Tony Kennon of Orange Beach, Alabama, which is among the seaside towns giving BP the most hell. He reportedly “encouraged county officials to get aggressive with BP about reimbursements.”

The paper quoted Mayor Kennon, who already is trying to secure 2011 reimbursements for his city. “This is about us fighting for our culture and what we deserve.”

See the story, via the Destin Log, here:

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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