Updated: 9:01 AM Jul 23, 2010
BP scaling back it's response in Bay County
After 93 days, with almost no damage, BP is scaling back their clean-up work-force and equipment in Bay County. Many local workers have been put on stand-by, while some from outside Bay and the surrounding counties are being phased out to make room for more locals.
Posted: 10:13 PM Jul 22, 2010
Reporter: Meredith TerHaar
Email Address: Meredith.firstname.lastname@example.org
BP Scaling Back Its Oil Spill Response In Panama City Area By 75%
Bay County- The only Deepwater Horizon Oil spill evidence to show up in our viewing area were some tar balls, a few small patches of oil, some oil-coated birds and animals and a couple of huge storage tanks that washed ashore. After 93 days, with almost no damage, BP is scaling back their clean-up work-force and equipment in Bay County. Many local workers have been put on stand-by, while some from outside Bay and the surrounding counties are being phased out to make room for more locals.
The vacuum trucks, front loaders, and huge Mack trucks that filled the Miracle Strip BP staging area just days ago, are gone. 90% of the large equipment has been moved to warehouses as BP prepares for any possible impact from the tropical depression. And the boom that's taken weeks to deploy, it's also coming out. "It poses a greater hazard by being in the water if it were damaged by wind, waves or any other type of activity. What we don't want is for that boom to cause any more damage by being in the way of a tropical storm," said Vani Rao, BP's public information officer for Bay County.
So how much boom will redeployed and when? "I'm confident that we are going to put the boom that is necessary back into the water. If there is any type of event, within 24 hours we will begin the re-entry process. But what if the panhandle escapes the tropical depression without any oil damage? Some believe once BP pulls out, they won't come back. Rao says that is not true, but does say the company is scaling-back. "We ramped up alot of resources preparing for any type of impact. What happened is the number of resources within the county were not commensurate with the impact that we received. So what we want to do is scale back the response, but keep people available so if the activity increases then we have the resources ready to support that impact," said Rao.
The clean-up workers, living in Bay and the surrounding counties, are being placed on stand-by until their services are needed again.
The stand-by workers are not receiving a check. BP is laying-off some of the out-of-town workers. "The only way you can create room for a local workforce is to create the space for that workforce to be hired, that means the people who aren't from here, have to be let go," said Rao.
That is something county commissioners have been pushing for for weeks. "We go through this every time we have a hurricane, people flood in throughout the frickin' United States to work here and take money back to wherever they come from. That is not right. These people are suffering, they deserve the opportunity," said Bay County Commissioner Jerry Girvin.
BP and it's sub-contractors had as many as 4,000 workers in Bay County alone. That's down to about 1,000 today.