Skip to comments.Okaloosa [County] defies Unified Command over East Pass plans
Posted on 06/15/2010 12:12:57 PM PDT by numberonepal
DESTIN Okaloosa County isnt taking oil spill orders any more.
County commissioners voted unanimously to give their emergency management team the power to take whatever action it deems necessary to prevent oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill from entering Choctawhatchee Bay through the East Pass.
That means the team, led by Public Safety Director Dino Villani, can take whatever action it sees fit to protect the pass without having its plans approved by state or federal authorities.
Commission chairman Wayne Harris said he and his fellow commissioners made their unanimous decision knowing full well they could be prosecuted for it.
We made the decision legislatively to break the laws if necessary. We will do whatever it takes to protect our countys waterways and were prepared to go to jail to do it, he said.
That freed Villani to take several actions deemed important to further armor the Destin pass without waiting for authorization from the state Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee and the unified spill command in Mobile.
Commissioners gave him the go-ahead to spend $200,000 to pay for an underwater air curtain designed to push oil up where it can be collected and $16,500 a day to operate and maintain it.
He has authority to, without a nod from the U.S. Coast Guard, deploy barges, weighted so that theyll sit low in the water across the entrance to the pass.
He is also authorized to look into a slip curtain, another underwater oil-catching device.
Though they now have the authority, both Villani and Okaloosa County Administrator Jim Curry said they will continue to work with the state and federal authorities to get their plans approved.
Curry said what the commissioners did Monday was send a loud and clear message to the Coast Guard, the state Department of Environmental Protection and others that Okaloosa Countys permit requests should be acted on immediately.
The commission met in an emergency meeting alongside the Destin City Council. The two governing bodies confronted a full room of obviously frustrated people, many of whom advocated filling in the entrance of the pass to close it down completely.
It was agreed that filling in the pass was a bad idea that could have serious environmental impacts.
Jay Prothro, BPs representative for Okaloosa County, and two representatives of the Coast Guard were also present.
While Martha LaGuardia, a commander with the Coast Guard, argued that moving ideas and plans through the chain of command was the proper way to do things, Harris made it known the County Commission was tired of the often tedious and sometimes unproductive bureaucracy.
Weve played the game. Were done playing the game, he said.
We took the boat out Sunday and went around Crab Island and the Coastguard station. The water seemed a bit brownish................
King Obama isn’t going to like this rebellion at all.
Just like Arizona and it’s immigration law, GO FOR IT Okaloosa County! Do what the government refuses to do!
Ping to a more positive article concerning the spill.
I suspect Okaloosa will probably set off a chain reaction.
The political waters are damned hot here right now.
I knew when Bobby J opened the door many others would walk through it. Although I deem his actions late, his leadership is commendable. Next up Governor Riley perhaps????? I don’t think Crist will do anything on his own.
Good for you Okaloosa County.
This is what Gov. Bobby Jindal should have done with all 24 berms, right away!
Grace Murray Hopper
I'm going to cut Bobby some slack here and assumed he was lied to in the beginning like the rest of us. He's been trying for weeks to do the right thing and run the proper procedural channels, bless his heart. He tried to do something earlier, but was stymied at every turn. Finally he said enough.
Our coast is clear. Our sand is still white (for now). Our air is still fresh (for now). Our hotels are offering good deals. The sun is hot, the drinks are cold and the water is warm..........................
I hope that is exactly what happens. Come on Mobile County, Baldwin County, etc. Let’s get to work!!
And, I'd sure have liked to be in that meeting when the Coastie lady got told the locals were tired of playing their delaying games.
It was clear as crystal and gorgeous when I drove over at 2 this afternoon. Lots of folks enjoying themselves, no oil.
I suspect the brownish color in the bay comes from the rain runoff we’ve had lately. Tannin from all the leaves in the creeks........
this is AWESOME!
I hope the other coastal county govts are taking note and doing the same thing!
THEY ARE ON THEIR OWN AND NEED TO TAKE CHARGE CAUSE THE TOTUS DOES NOT GIVE A DAMN ABOUT THEM!
It should be glaringly obvious by now!
Good for them. The white sugar sands there are a national treasure!!!
Jindal finally decided to build the sand berms without FedGuv help.
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