VIDEO/PHOTOS: Mack: BP should get bill for oil spill cleanup

U.S. Rep. Mack on oil, other topics

Mack says put unemployed to work cleaning ...

— ■ Watch Live Cam from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill

Oil spills and hurricanes were the main topics of discussion Tuesday at Collier County’s pep talk for the 2010 Hurricane Season.

And when it came to laying blame for the oily disaster plaguing the nation, Congressman Connie Mack, R-Fort Myers, pulled no punches.

“BP should be held responsible for every dime,” said Mack during the press conference at the James V. Mudd Emergency Services Center. “So if government resources are used, BP should be on the hook.”

The Gulf oil spill began April 20 when BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded off the Louisiana coast, killing 11 workers and rupturing the underwater pipe.

In the six weeks since, the government estimates that between 19.7 million and 43 million gallons of crude have poured into the Gulf — affecting beaches, wildlife and the local economy and making it the worst spill in U.S. history.

“It is clear to me that there were no proper contingency plans in place to handle a disaster like this. There is real frustration and I think this oil spill highlights that,” said Mack.

He said he asked President Barack Obama to get America’s -- as well as the World’s -- best and brightest on the case.

“This is an emergency,” Mack said adding that agencies such as the U.S. Army, the Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA could be called up to take more active roles. “Send BP the bill.”

As to what role the 2010 Hurricane season may play on the disaster’s response, Mack said those answers remain unknown.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting an active season, with as many as 23 named tropical storms.

An estimated eight to 14 storms could strengthen into hurricanes. Of those storms, three to seven could become major hurricanes.

Both Mack and Collier County Bureau of Emergency Services director Dan Summers urged residents to not wait until the last minute to prepare their homes for the season.

Summers added that even though Southwest Florida hasn’t had a big storm in recent years, people should not be complacent on their preparations.

“Regardless of the number of storms in the predictions, it only takes one to change your life,” Summers said.

While scientists seem to agree that the sprawling oil slick in the Gulf isn’t likely to affect the formation of a storm, the real worry is that a hurricane might turn the millions of gallons of floating crude into a crashing black surf.

“This is our worst nightmare,” Mack said. “The potential for harm in our community is great. The people who are responsible for this will be held accountable.”

The first named storm of this Atlantic hurricane season, which runs through Nov. 30, will be called Alex.

However, Mack said before a decision is made on whether offshore drilling should banned, there will be thorough investigation into what went wrong at Deepwater Horizon.

“Before we get into a conversation about stopping drilling in the Gulf, we need to have real understanding of what want wrong and what kind of contingency plans there are to put in place so this never happens again,” said Mack, who believes there needs to be more domestic oil production.

Nevertheless Mack said the oil needs first needs to stop flowing and BP needs to clean up what’s in the gulf and what’s on the nation’s shores

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Comments » 1

TheObserver writes:

"Before we get into a conversation about stopping drilling in the Gulf, we need to have real understanding of what want wrong..."
I strongly disagree - before there isn't any effective method in place how to deal with catastrophies like the actual oil spill, offshore drilling MUST BE HALTED!!! Finding out what went wrong at the Deepwater Horizon surely is mandatory, but there's no reason to believe that next time something different may "go wrong", so there MUST be a general contingency plan in place for cases like this one, before offshore drilling can be considered safe. Everything else is totally irresponsible.

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