Local government officials appointed to Obama’s oil spill workgroup
President Obama has appointed eight officials from county and parish governments affected by last year’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill to his Gulf Coast Restoration Workgroup. The Washington-based National Association of Counties (NACo) applauded the appointments, saying the Local Government Advisory Committee for the workgroup will provide an important voice for local officials and their communities.
The Gulf Coast Restoration Workgroup is a task force of federal and state agencies, led by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, that will organize Gulf Coast restoration plans. Gulf Coast county and parish officials remain concerned about the long road ahead to economic and environmental recovery following the British Petroleum (BP) Deepwater Horizon oil spill, in particular about gaining full reimbursement from BP for local tax revenue losses associated with the spill, according to NACo.
The federal Oil Pollution Act requires BP to pay for such losses. The NACo Gulf Counties and Parishes Oil Spill Task Force, formed last year, asked the Obama administration in July 2010 to name a federal advocate for local government claims against BP. Based on a Jan. 12 meeting with Jackson, NACo believes such an advocate will be named soon.
The administration appointed the following officials to the workgroup:
Escambia County, Fla., Commission Chairman Grover Robinson;
Baldwin County, Ala., Commissioner Charles Gruber; Mobile County, Ala., President Merceria Ludgood; Harrison County, Miss., President and Supervisor Connie Rockco; Lafourche Parish, La., President Charlotte Randolph; Terrebonne Parish, La., Consolidated Government Council Chairwoman Arlanda Williams; St. Bernard Parish, La., President Craig Taffaro; and Harris County, Texas, Judge Ed Emmett.
Download the NACo press release on the appointments to the Gulf Coast Restoration Workgroup.