Rick Scott's reluctance to litigate against Transocean enrages some Florida Democrats


That comment angered a couple of Tampa Bay area Democrats, such as Congresswoman Kathy Castor, who said:


“I urge Gov. Scott to aggressively fight to protect Florida taxpayers. Other states and communities appear to be more proactive in their approaches to recoup tax dollars and damages. As the Alabama Attorney General said when he filed suit last August, ‘based on BP’s broken promises, their history of saying one thing and doing another,’ only a hard-nosed, aggressive approach will do.


“The state of Louisiana also filed suit last month. Florida is lagging behind. We must leave no stone unturned. With a $3 billion hole in its budget, Floridians expect the governor to be able to articulate a plan to hold BP, Transocean and others accountable.


“Whatever his legal strategy, I urge Gov. Scott to be transparent and aggressive and get into the fight for the best interests of Floridians.”


St. Petersburg based House Democrat Rick Kriseman also wasn't too pleased to hear this news, saying:


"This is a dereliction of duty. There is absolutely no reason why Governor Scott’s administration cannot spend a few minutes filling out simple paperwork to preserve Florida’s rights against BP, Transocean, Halliburton, and other defendants.“Joining the suit would not prevent our state from pursuing a claim against BP or anyone else. It would merely be an avenue to make a claim for damages and other relief beyond what BP may pay through the Gulf Coast Claims Facility.


“Now, because of our governor’s failure to act, we may lose our rights to recover damages from Transocean as well as other procedural rights. Additionally, failing to join the suit may now impact Florida’s ability to utilize the findings of next year’s trial.”


Florida officials say they will continue to seek reimbursement by filing a claim with BP through the federal Oil Pollution Act.  And they say they could still file a suit be made against Transocean.

Today of course marks the one year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon/Anaconda oil spill, which brings back stories of the crises from a year ago, which is still enduring in terms of the litigation involved with trying to make things whole for the people who suffered last year along the Gulf Coast.

As we referred to two weeks ago, a recent Quinnipiac poll shows that a majority of Floridians support expanded offshore oil exploration; 35 percent oppose.  That question is somewhat ambiguous and perhaps less a contradiction in that it doesn't specify if Floridians want it closer to the state than current law allows (235 miles from St. Pete Beach).

In their lead editorial this morning, the St. Pete Times questions how solid that 60 percent really is:

Memories are short. A year after the broken oil rig began spewing 206 million gallons of oil into the gulf, opinion polls show most Florida voters favor offshore drilling. The prospect of gasoline at $4 a gallon triggers short-term thinking, and the oil has been largely erased from North Florida beaches. The clogged Louisiana marshes, the disfigured fish, the oil-slicked dolphins and the microscopic oil particles deep below the gulf's surface seem less pressing. But spread oil on the Pinellas beaches or along Miami Beach on these warm sunny days, and the poll results would be different.

Meanwhile on the eve of the anniversary, Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi alienated some Floridians when they said that he's leaning against the idea that the state of Florida should not sue Transocean, the owner of the oil rig operated by BP. Scott said this:

“It doesn’t make sense that the state join that lawsuit. We have a plan to make sure our state is treated fairly with regards getting reimbursed by British Petroleum for the damages done to our state,” Scott told reporters on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the oil rig blast that spewed 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

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