Biloxi seeks $3 million grant to help implement, speed up spill efforts

The City of Biloxi has applied for a grant of nearly $3 million to help accelerate and implement BP’s plans to protect parts of the Biloxi shoreline from the threat of oil.

The grant application was submitted Friday to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and the Mississippi Department of Marine Resources, the two state agencies administrating the $25 million Mississippi British Petroleum Deepwater Horizon Response Block Grant program

The requested funding — $2.99 million — will cover police, fire, public works, engineering and other personnel who will assist with hazard response and traffic control, and provide technical support and recovery recommendations to BP. The funding covers an eight-month period, and proposes to organize a joint command post within the mayor’s office to provide oversight and guidance for the BP spill preparation, response and recovery actions in the city. The amount of the funding request could change, depending on the level of the spill response by the city.

Mayor A.J. Holloway noted that the application was being made six working days after the grant program was announced, and on the same day that the national incident commander, Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, was in Biloxi to update the status of operations.

Allen, commandent of the Coast Guard, told reporters gathered at Point Cadet Marina that multiple efforts continued to cap the gushing well in the Gulf, and he admitted that the spill itself was “omni-directional” and “indeterminate.”

“During that briefing, Admiral Allen said that he would have to make some difficult decisions regarding resources when landfall was imminent somewhere on the Gulf Coast,” Holloway said. “To me, that means that booms may or may not be positioned in all the areas we’d like to see them on the peninsula, or we could see them moved away, depending on the threat level in other locations. Admiral Allen has to look at the big picture, which I understand, but in my case the big picture is doing everything that we can do to help protect Biloxi’s sensitive areas. This grant will help us do that.”

Holloway and Director of Administration David Staehling plan to brief the Biloxi City Council on details of the grant application during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

The latest updates

More info: You can find updated animation, a Q&A about health issues, air quality meters and other updated information on the city web site. Click on the Spill Info icon on the front page or click here.