Biden oil spill visit: Vice President inspects boom, talks with workers


THEODORE, Ala. — Vice President Joe Biden talked with workers, inspected boom and participated in a roundtable discussion during his trip to Theodore today.

Biden, along with retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen and other officials, arrived at the Theodore Staging Facility, in a boom cleaning and repair warehouse, around 11 a.m.

“Where you from? How you doing?” Biden could be heard asking boom repair workers, shaking their hands as a gaggle of national and local reporters took pictures.

Biden arrived in Alabama shortly after 10 a.m., a spokeswoman for the vice president’s office said. This is his first trip to the state since BP PLC’s massive oil spill.

The vice president didn’t take questions or make statements, and most of his conversations were inaudible.

President Obama visited the same location, run by Patriot Environmental Services Inc., a month ago. Patriot is a firm based in Long Beach, Calif. hired by BP to clean boom.

After passing long rows of boom stretched along tables, Biden discussed the spill with fishermen, small business owners and Allen, the national incident commander.

Among the roundtable participants were Capt. Ben Fairey, a charter boat fisherman, Hollie LeJeune, a seafood market and restaurant owner, and Michael Williams, a commercial shrimper from Bayou La Batre.

Reporters were ushered out of the warehouse soon after the roundtable began. Biden has a press statement scheduled for 1 p.m.

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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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