Parrish steps down as Deepwater Horizon liaison

Published: Thursday, October 25, 2012 at 03:01 PM.

A divided county commission took steps last week to create a local RESTORE Act council, and to reject taking part in a consortium of 23 Florida counties bordering the Gulf of Mexico.

Following the 3-2 vote, Commissioner Smokey Parrish asked to be relieved of his duties dating back to the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, when he acted as liaison to BP and federal and state authorities. He will be succeeded in his role as liaison by the seated chairman of the county commission.

“It sounded like the board had no confidence in what I’ve been doing the last three years,” said Parrish afterwards. “I figured it was time for me to step aside and let someone else take a shot.”

At the Oct. 16 meeting, commissioners voted 3-2 to establish a new RESTORE Act Council, based on an outline distributed by Chairman Pinki Jackel consisting of a one-page summary of the council’s purpose and function, and a six-page ordinance defining it, modeled on one passed by Wakulla County.

Jackel pushed for immediate approval of creating the council, saying urgency for it arose from discussions conducted Oct. 11 at a meeting in Apalachicola called by Cong. Steve Southerland. Commissioners Noah Lockley and Parrish were the lone no votes.

“One of the things that came out of the Southerland meeting is that we need to form a RESTORE Act Council,” she said. “Some of the other counties have already formed them. Congressman Southerland said there is not an allocation formula attached to the bill. It’s going to be on a request basis.”

Under Jackel’s proposal, the council would comprise four at-large members appointed by the county commission; a representative of Apalachicola and Carrabelle to be chosen by their respective city commissions; one representative each from the Tourist Development Council, Weems Memorial Hospital board, Franklin County School Board, Franklin County Seafood Workers Association and Franklin County Seafood Dealers Association; and one representative each from Alligator Point, Lanark Village, St. George Island and Eastpoint, each to be “recommended to the board by the District Commissioner.”

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