Bill Nelson on CNN today said he's "prayerfully hopeful" that the latest BP effort to cap the leak works, but suggested if it doesn't "then the president ought to turn this over to the military.
"It has the command structure to bring in all the civilian agencies," Nelson said. We did this before when there was so much oil around after the first Gulf War, including 4 inches of oil on top of the Persian Gulf for thousands of square miles. It's time now. You have got to have BP's cooperation, because they have got the technical instruments, but, you know, we have got to have somebody take charge. And I think the U.S. military is best suited to do that."
His Republican counterpart, George LeMieux, said he's disappointed BP hasn't responded to his requests to set up a better system of paying state and local spill prevention and mitigation costs. He also sent off a flurry of letters to federal agencies "to answer a series of questions about the lack of coordination to contain the spill.
"We need the spill capped and we need a proactive action plan on how to handle this spill and compensate the victims of its effects. To date, there is no visible or effective plan in place," he said.
LeMieux has asked BP to set up a billion-dollar revolving fund that states could tap to pay for spill response and mitigation activities. His office said that although the BP president told Congress that his company would answer the request within seven days, "a suitable response has yet to be seen."
LeMieux also joined in introducing legislation to consolidate and expedite damages cases to ensure that Floridians receive compensation as soon as possible. Claimants would have the option of participating in the expedited claims process and could seek unlimited economic damages under strict liability.
In letters to the Interior Department and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, LeMieux is asking why more burning of spilled oil did not take place after the spill, whether there was a waiting period of 10 days before the administration activated a previously approved spill response plan, and why the federal government did not have adequate fire boom available for deployment even though a plan approved in 1994 called for such availability.