By Greg Fink
In Tallahassee, nearly anything can happen and now, at the 11th hour of the legislative session Florida State Senator Andy Gardiner (Orlando) successfully added an amendment on Senate Bill 1024 giving a strong possibility that the state monies received by the BP Restore Act could be
managed by Triumph Gulf Coast, Inc., a state non-profit. This is actually in conflict
with the original agreed to plan of leaving the managing of the funding up to the counties on order of tha damages caused to those counties.
I recently spoke with Florida State Sen. Greg Evers (R-FL) to find out more details regarding this pressing issue for our local community.
Pensacola Voice: What is the next step for the pushing forward with the amendment of SB 1024 more or less taking BP funding and reallocating it to the state rather than the control of the counties?
Evers: According to the amendment and bill sponsor, it is not the intention of the state to redirect Recovery Act funds to Triumph Gulf Coast Inc. If that is indeed true, then I believe we need to remove any reference to the disbursement of Recovery Act funds under 33 U.S.C. 1321 (t) from this bill.
Pensacola Voice: Is it likely that this bill will pass the full senate?
Evers: I think it is likely that some form of the bill will pass the full Senate. Keep in mind, there are many other components of the bill that are worthy issues, including how the State will disburse any potential funds recovered by the Attorney General in conjunction with the ongoing lawsuit.
Pensacola Voice: Who should voters call most to have their voice heard regarding this amendment?
Evers: I would recommend that voters reach out to their respective Senators and Representatives.
The legislative session ends May 1 meaning, this will be the time a final vote will be made. For more information regarding this issue please stay tuned to the Pensacola Voice as well as all other local and regional media as we are all covering this to give you the information you need about what is being done in Tallahassee to dilute our regions share of the damages caused by the BP Oil Spill.