Scott Tours Panama City on Oil Spill Eve

By: Whitney Ray
By: Whitney Ray

Panama City, FL - Business is booming at Eastern Ship Building. The panhandle company received five new contracts to build cargo ships. Things weren’t looking so good last year after the BP oil spill placed the contracts on hold.

On the eve of the one year anniversary of the spill, Governor Rick Scott toured the company and highlighted their recovery story.

“The good news is from the downturn of the oil spill to where we are now, this shipyard is adding jobs,” said Scott.

From the shipyard, the governor headed here to downtown Panama City where just one year ago these store owners jobs were in jeopardy because of the oil spill. People stopped buying rods and reels at Ronnie Groon’s sporting goods shop.

“Our fishing business has been down and we felt the effect of it, but things are picking up,” said Groon.

Tuesday Ronnie met the governor and sold him a fishing license. Down the road, Scott bought a chocolate cupcake. The cupcakery opened its doors in the midst of the oil spill. The owner says business has been great and is getting better.

“Opening up your own business is the American dream and if you have a dream and what to open your own business, I say go for it,” said Owner Stephanie Morrison.

For lunch, Scott sucked down Apalachicola oysters at a local seafood restaurant. Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam joined him. They want people to feel safe eating Gulf Coast seafood.

“We have found absolutely nothing for the public to be concerned about and so today is an opportunity to show that off,” said Putnam.

The elected officials hope the tour will convince tourists to return. Helping the cause is 30 million dollars from BP for marketing. The governor’s tour continues tonight with a fishing expedition until seven and a fish fry at eight o’clock central time.

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