McCollum: Obama leadership ‘missing’ on oil spill 

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum says he is deeply unsatisfied with President Obama’s response to the crisis, and that the president’s speech last night did nothing to assuage his concerns.

“The leadership is really missing on this,” he said in a meeting today with The Examiner’s editors. McCollum is a Republican candidate for governor, currently fighting a closely watched primary election against self-funding former health care executive Rick Scott.

McCollum said that British Petroleum should pay the entire cost of cleaning the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, in addition to paying economic damages. But he said the administration has lacked creativity, flexibility and an on-site presence in Florida. He said that so far, his requests that someone with “decision-making authority” be sent to Florida’s panhandle counties have been unfulfilled. “As of yesterday, they don’t even have anyone on the ground in Florida yet…This administration has not been there.”

“You’re not hearing a peep from them about modern technologies,” he added, noting that at least two Florida companies produce “oil-eating bacteria” but have been ignored. He also asserted that the administration has failed to explore the possibility of using polypropylene sheets that “attract oil like a magnet attracts metal.” McCollum suggested that his state’s fishermen, mostly put out of work by the oil spill, could drag such sheets behind their boats and help with the clean-up effort.

McCollum also said that Florida lacks the number of oil skimming vessels that will be needed to clean its coastline and mitigate damage from the BP oil spill, and that foreign offers to help should be quickly accepted. He recently sent Obama a letter asking him to waive the Jones Act, a 90-year-old protectionist measure that limits operations of foreign vessels in U.S. waters. He related that he had very recently pleaded with Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen on the topic, to no avail.

“There’s no acknowledgment by the administration that we have to waive the Jones Act,” he said.

About The Author

David Freddoso

Bio:
David Freddoso came to the Washington Examiner in June 2009, after serving for nearly two years as a Capitol Hill-based staff reporter for National Review Online. Before writing his New York Times bestselling book, The Case Against Barack Obama, he spent three years assisting Robert Novak, the legendary Washington... more
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