Coast residents question federal officials at forum - - Jackson, MS

Coast residents question federal officials at forum

OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Some concerned citizens on the Mississippi Gulf Coast made their issues known Wednesday in a question-and-answer forum on the BP oil spill.

BP officials and representatives from federal agencies like the EPA and NOAA were present, and it didn't long for the lines to form as people eagerly waited to get answers.

One concerned citizen asked the panel, "Is there any plan that is being considered to keep what is now being spawned from going into the dangerous waters should that worst plan scenario happen?"

For some attendants, emotions were hard to contain.

"I'm mad, but I don't mean to be mad I've lost my livelihood on this," said a coast resident.

His were sentiments expressed many times by fishermen who now find themselves out of work.

"What we gonna do about the people that have to make a damn living.  That's what I'm asking y'all.  When y'all gonna pay us?  When y'all gonna put us to work?" asked a local fisherman.  "I've been told I was gonna been paid.   I haven't got paid a damn thing, excuse my language.  I went down there to get the $5,000 that you promised.  I ain't got that."

On this night, he got at least one of his concerns addressed out in the open.

"I will personally see to it that you get your check tomorrow," said a member of the panel.

The group of federal officials tackled a host of concerns, including some of the most frequently asked questions like how we measure how much oil is coming out and its impact.

"There's not gauge down 5,000 feet on the bottom for us to measure how much is coming out, so we'll probably never know what percentage we've recovered versus what stays in the environment," said a spokesman for the U.S. Coast Guard.

Just as the marshes and the barrier islands is the backbone of our marine eco-system and people depend on that to make a living so are the our beaches are the backbone of our tourism.

Among the issues raised, one point remained constant, a lot stands to be lost if the oil situation is not contained and soon.


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