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CFO Sink Asks President Obama for Federal Takeover of Deepwater Horizon Oil Leak Response

5/24/2010

CONTACT: Jerri Franz or Jayme O’Rourke, 850-413-2842
 
TALLAHASSEE – Florida CFO Alex Sink today sent a letter to President Obama urging that he put his administration in full command of stopping the Deepwater Horizon oil leak and processing the claims for affected residents and businesses. CFO Sink also said she would also ask Governor Crist to schedule an emergency meeting of the Florida Cabinet to allow a forum for Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to provide Florida’s executive branch with a full briefing on the federal government’s plans to end this crisis.
 
“For too long we have relied on BP and its contractors to staunch the flow of oil, and they have failed us at every turn,” said CFO Sink. “We are now more than a month out from this disaster, and Floridians want to know: Where is the federal government’s leadership? By whatever standard one views this situation – environmental or economic – what’s clear is that we are all suffering due to the lack of a workable plan to stop the leak and take care of the residents and businesses that have been affected.”
 
A full copy of the letter is below.
 
Dear Mr. President:
 
The Deepwater Horizon oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico has become a disaster of epic proportions for those of us who live and work in the region.  By whatever standard one views this situation – environmental or economic – what’s clear is that we are all suffering due to the lack of a workable plan to stop the leak and take care of the residents and businesses that have been affected.
 
I have said this crisis could have the same effect as a Category 5 hurricane hitting our state. Floridians want to know: Where is the Federal government’s leadership?  For the past month, Gulf coast residents have been waiting for BP as they attempt different strategies to stop the leak. I ask you, for the good of the entire region, to take over the process to stop the leak.  Within the Federal government alone there are multiple resources that could help develop solutions.  Please bring together the best and brightest in the industry both in our country and around the world, including those who have deepwater drilling expertise in Norway and Australia.
 
As Florida’s CFO, I am hearing stories from residents and business owners located along the Gulf coast, from Florida’s Panhandle down to the Florida Keys.  Their lives and livelihoods are being destroyed by the absence of a coordinated response coming from the Federal government.  For instance, hotel bookings in the Panhandle normally carry above a 90-percent occupancy rate this time of year, but the Panama City News Herald reported last week that some hotels are experiencing decreases of 50 to 60 percent compared to the same time last year.
 
Further, they are facing unnecessary obstacles as they try to get help.  Clearly, leaving the small business and residential assistance to BP is not working.   BP is not forthcoming with the information we need and is not capable of addressing the numerous needs our communities are facing.  Why must a small business owner looking for assistance through this crisis have to work through BP – why isn’t the Federal government handling claims of lost income and revenue, and interfacing with BP on behalf of Florida’s citizens?  Further yet, there are numerous reports of more drilling-related activity underway in the Gulf, including the granting of waivers on several projects, despite your call for a moratorium until the cause of the Deepwater Horizon leak has been found.  Given the severity of the current situation, I ask you to enforce the moratorium you called for.
 
I am also requesting that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke meet with the Governor and the Florida Cabinet at tomorrow’s regularly scheduled Cabinet meeting in Tallahassee to brief us on the Federal government’s efforts.  I realize this is short notice, so I would be happy to request an emergency Cabinet briefing for another date to hear from the administration.
 
Mr. President, our communities, our environment, and our economy are all at stake.  We are looking to the White House for help.
 
 
Regards,
 
 
 
Alex Sink
 
 
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