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Mississippi Governor 'Shocked' By Coast Guard's Gulf Spill Coordination

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour tells NPR's All Things Considered today that he was "shocked" to discover three weeks ago that the Coast Guard had no way to effectively coordinate hundreds of vessels deployed to fight the Gulf oil spill.

The Coast Guard, he said "... did not know where they were, did not have any system to identify them on the water, to tell where they were, had no method to communicate with many of them."

Barbour also said when Mississippi saw the number of skimmers allotted it, state officials realized it wouldn't be close to enough. They ordered 23 more to be built and expect delivery any day, he said.

"We believe that the early estimation of the number of skimmers needed was way below the fact," the governor told host Melissa Block. "The federal government, Unified Command, BP, whomever. The number of skimmers, it is clearly insufficient."

When asked whether the Deepwater Horizon disaster challenges the governor's "small government, less regulation" ethos, Barbour said the market system is working.

"If there had been somebody from MMS [Minerals Management Service] on the well to make sure they had done it the way it should have been done, well, maybe that would have made a difference," he said.

"But I think right now every oil company in the world says 'I don't want to pay $100 million a day to cut corners on drilling a well.' And, I believe that's where the market system works. No one has more to lose on this well than BP."

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