Biden to Florida Panhandle: ‘We’re not going anywhere.’by Dara Kam | June 29th, 2010
With Gov. Charlie Crist by his side, Vice President Joe Biden vowed that the Sunshine State has the president’s full support as residents and business owners cope with the continuing impacts of oil on beaches and inland waters from the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
“This region has been hit hard by acts of God and now by an act of man. We’re going to be feeling the effects, and you’re going to be feeling the effects, for some time to come. But we also intend to stick with this region until it has been made whole,” Biden said early this evening, referring to the devastation of 2004 Hurricane Ivan on the Panhandle. “We’re not going anywhere. We’re staying here until the job is done.”
Flanked by Deepwater Horizon incident commander U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the state’s newly-appointed disaster response leader Capt. Steve Poulin and Crist, Biden spoke of the importance the Gulf of Mexico plays in the “cultural ecosystem” of the coastal communities where fishing has come to an abrupt end.
“There’s in a sense a way of life at stake here, not just an economic concern,” Biden told reporters reading from a prepared statement to a group of reporters in front of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter “Oak” at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola.
“We’re not going to forget the people of the Gulf until their economy is back up and running, until this is cleaned up, until the oil is stopped from gushing from the bottom of the ocean floor. We’re not going to end this until everyone is made whole,” he said.
Before speaking to the press, Biden spent about an hour getting briefed by entourage aboard the cutter, now equipped as a skimming vessel.
Biden also acknowledged concerns that the more skimming vessels are needed and said that he was hopeful that some U.S. Navy ships would be sent to help with the oil collection efforts.