House kicks off two-day hearing on oil spill - - Jackson, MS

House kicks off two-day hearing on oil spill

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By Monica Hernandez - bio | email | twitter

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Inside the state capitol, officials searched for answers Tuesday while signs of oil contamination continue to wash up on Mississippi's beaches.

"I think we have to be prepared for just about anything. And as we get more oil, as each day happens, the likelihood of something bad happening increases," said Rep. Brandon Jones (D) Pascagoula.

And that's why the House Select Committee on the Gulf Coast Disaster is holding a two-day hearing on the spill. They're hoping to learn what's already damaged and find out how officials plan to respond.

"We should be asking them, what have they done, what are they doing, and when their answers don't live up to what we expect, we should hold them accountable," said Jones.

While Mississippi's beaches remain open, hotel bookings are down by as much as 70 percent for in July, August, and September along the coast. Some say, it has to do with the perception that oil has already arrived.

"That's just not occurring yet. But that perception is leading to our bookings being down for the rest of the summer. Can you change that perception? That's a good question, that might be something discussed at the hearings," said Rep. Bobby Moak (D), chairman of the House Gaming Commission.

Governor Haley Barbour emphasized that oil has only hit Mississippi's barrier islands.

"In the 50 or so days, except for some random tar balls, some of which came from this well, some of which didn't, we've had one significant intrusion from the well," said Governor Haley Barbour.

Meanwhile, some are hoping locals will be able to play a bigger role in the response.

"One thing we don't lose sight of, is that the people of the Gulf Coast are very resilient, we will get through this," said Moak.

The hearings will run through Wednesday.

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