Thursday, June 3, 2010

Senator Nelson's efforts for Troops

Nelson pushes for more military assets to combat, cleanup oil spill
PENSACOLA, Fla. – With oil drifting closer and closer to this area’s world-famous beaches, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson continues to insist the White House should call in the military to help keep the slime at bay.

No one expects the military to be able to cap the gushing well. As the chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Mike Mullen says, the military isn’t suited or equipped to do so. But Nelson believes the military can bring what former Secretary of State Colin Powell said in a recent interview: “The military brings organization. It brings control. It brings assets.”

“This is the largest environmental disaster in our nation’s history,” Nelson said today, as he departed Orlando for a trip to the Pensacola area for a first-hand look at preparations to combat the spill. “If this doesn’t call for more organization, control and assets – like, subsea mapping by the Navy, for instance - then nothing does.”

Nelson’s stop at area emergency operations centers comes as the Panhandle confront the stark reality of oil washing ashore in Florida. Government forecasters are closely tracking a significant plume of oil 35 miles off Pensacola Beach. None of that oil was expected to make landfall before Saturday. But officials warn tar balls could started hitting area beaches by tomorrow.

A long-time opponent of offshore drilling off Florida’s Gulf coast, Nelson was instrumental in getting the first live images of the well disaster made public, leading to a re-evaluation of the amount of oil actually gushing from the well. He’s also filed legislation to raise the liability cap for economic and environmental damages for the spill from $75 million to whatever it costs to fix the mess and compensate folks for their losses. He’s filed another bill to toughen regulation of the oil industry and end lax oversight by the federal government. And, he’s called on the president to establish a military-like command and control structure to help clean up the spill.

Briefing at Escambia County Emergency Operations Center
1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. (local time)
6575 North W Street, Pensacola

Briefing at Santa Rosa County Emergency Operations Center
3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. (local time)
4499 Pine Forest Road, Milton