Coastal lawmakers say they want to take on a sacred cow in north Alabama in order to get a fair share of the state’s BP Oil Spill Settlement.
The Tennessee Valley Authority operates the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant, several other energy plants, and dams in the northern part of the state, providing power to 17 counties and serving 17-percent of the state’s population. TVA is a self-sustaining federal agency that makes annual payments to the State in lieu of certain taxes.
via Coastal Lawmakers: Handle BP and TVA Money the Same.
Lawmakers from Mobile and Baldwin counties are optimistic a special session of the legislature could mean millions of dollars to the coast. When it comes to the BP disaster–lawmakers from Southwest Alabama agree it was coastal catastrophe.
“We’re the part of Alabama that had oil hit the coast,” said State Senator Bill Hightower. South Alabama lawmakers came fairly close to redirecting a large chunk of the BP settlement during the 2016 session back to the Gulf Coast.
via Mobile And Baldwin Lawmakers May Get Another Crack At BP Bill.
As Alabama lawmakers from the North and South squabble over where it should go, a billion dollar BP piggy bank hovers precariously over the chasm of Goat Hill.
via BP oil spill settlement: North vs South. Who should get the money? | AL.com.
Alabama representative Jim Patterson is asking Governor Bentley to call a special session to further discuss the BP oil spill settlement.
Patterson says lawmakers owe it to the taxpayers to utilize all the money coming from the settlement.
He says he wants to fully fund Medicaid and repay the rainy day fund, even if it means not being able to complete the beach express in Baldwin County and Highway 98 in Mobile.
via Patterson calls for special session | WPMI.
The 1980s Twisted Sister song “We’re Not Gonna Take it” was reintroduced last year to a new generation as the theme song for Donald Trump’s insurgent presidential campaign.
But it can also apply to Alabama’s Gulf Coast, where Mobile and Baldwin state lawmakers, in a bipartisan show of support, consistently hammered home a point in Montgomery that the state’s BP oil spill settlement needs to return to the area most affected by the 2010 disaster.
via In halls of power, Alabama coast showing moxie, muscle | AL.com.
A Bill that passed the Alabama House last week would have sent $191 million dollars to south Alabama for road improvements. In a Senate committee, a compromise could not be reached and no vote was taken Tuesday, May 3, 2016. Representatives from other parts of the state wanted more of the money to go to other regions. That means Mobile and Baldwin counties won’t soon be seeing road improvements that local legislators say they’re due.
via No compromise on BP settlement Bill puts major Baldwin County ro – FOX10 News | WALA.
FOX10 News | WALA
A bill that would have sent part of the oil spill settlement money to the coast and would have provided money for Medicaid appears to be dead in a Senate committee.
During the Senate committee meeting Tuesday, Sen. Arthur Orr (R – Senate District 3) introduced legislation that would have drastically lowered the amount of money going to Mobile and Baldwin Counties.
via BP oil spill settlement bill dead in Senate committee – FOX10 News | WALA.
FOX10 News | WALA
A potential infusion of BP money for coastal road projects might help pay for the widening of Canal Road in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores or Ala. 181 in Daphne south toward U.S. 98. But a proponent of the House bill, approved late Thursday, says the money remains dedicated for its original intent: An extension of the Baldwin Beach Express and the construction of a U.S. 98 express route from Bayou La Batre to Semmes.
via Baldwin officials debate which road projects will get BP money | AL.com.
The Mobile area State Senator who has been fighting for a year to bring the bulk of Alabama’s BP Oil Spill settlement funds to the gulf coast says a revised House version of his bill is better than nothing.
via Hightower Reacts to Modified BP Bill.
The Alabama House could vote as early as Thursday night on a revised bill that spells out how BP oil spill settlement funds will be spent. The recent changes reduce the funds to be sent to coastal Alabama for major road projects.
via BP Money Bill Gets Major Revisions in Committee.
The BP oil spill was unlike any disaster this part of the gulf coast had ever faced. Sure there were other disasters. Most businesses have a display of what it looked like after a hurricane on a wall like a badge of courage. “It’s a reminder that we made it through,” says Katy Sims, manager of King Neptune’s Restaurant.
When it comes to the oil spill, there’s nothing.
“That one is not something, something that could have been prevented I guess, and this one couldn’t. So we would like to be reminded of a natural disaster that we were able to come back from,” says Sims.
via Anniversary of Oil Spill that’s Almost Just a Memory.
In a battle over BP settlement dollars, one coastal Alabama lawmaker is criticizing State Treasurer Young Boozer’s investment strategies.
The comments come prior to a crucial vote that could determine whether a sizeable chunk of the $1 billion settlement goes for roads or to repay the Alabama Trust Fund.
Rep. Randy Davis, R-Daphne, the House sponsor of a bill that could send more of the BP money to Mobile and Baldwin counties for road projects, accused Boozer of faring poorly with the Trust Fund. “His investments have lost money this year,” Davis said.
via Coastal lawmaker questions Alabama Treasurer’s ability to invest money ahead of BP money debate | AL.com.
It was a busy day at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS) in Gulfport…but then again, they’ve been busy for years.
Six years after the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, and veterinarians like Debra Moore are still learning more about how the spill impacts marine wildlife. Dolphins are among the most impacted.
via Numbers Show Surprising Impact to Animals from Oil Spill.
A vote in the Alabama House could come as early as next week on how to use the state’s remaining BP Oil Spill settlement funds.
BP is set to pay the state about $53 million a year for the next 18 years.
Lawmakers propose borrowing against those payments to create about 650 million-dollars for immediate spending. Those from coastal Alabama propose a significant portion go to Baldwin and Mobile Counties where the entirety of the environmental damages, and the majority of economic damages from the oil spill took place.
via Treasurer Opposes Push to Keep Most BP Money on Coast.
We can never replace the lives lost in the Deepwater Horizon explosion or the turmoil it caused coastal business owners struggling to stay afloat in the months that followed, but 6 years later, the scientific studies surfacing paint a more positive picture of the gulf.
“Often we’re writing an obituary about the gulf, but in reality, we should celebrate the fact that we got hit hard and the United States Government, academia, and even BP has done a great job post-spill,” Scientist Chris Reddy said.
via Scientist: BP Oil Spill Research Shouldn’t Be Like ‘writing an obituary’.
In recent years studies have linked Adult Dolphin illnesses and deaths to ongoing effects of the oil spill. Now researches are finding when the mother Dolphins are sick the babies suffer as well.
Baby Dolphins, in the womb or newborn, have struggled on the Gulf Coast in the shadow of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. A new study from NOAA found Baby Dolphins in our area are a staggering 18 times more likely to suffer from fetal distress leading to death.
via Study: Oil Spill Continuing to Kill Baby Dolphins – FOX10 News | WALA.
FOX10 News | WALA
MONTGOMERY, AL – According to a lawsuit filed on April 8 in the Circuit Court of Montgomery County, a former commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources is challenging the use of BP funds to rebuild the Gulf State Park Lodge.
Charles Grimsley’s suit says it is “to obtain an order restraining … state officials … from further unlawfully disbursing state funds, an order for an accounting of all unlawfully disbursed state funds and an order requiring restitution of such unlawfully disbursed state funds.”
via Former state parks chief sues to halt Gulf State Park lodge – GulfCoastNewsToday.com: News.
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said Friday that he will support legislation that funnels millions of dollars of BP oil spill settlement money for road projects.
Bentley, in Mobile to sign legislation for industrial tax credits, praised efforts that would divert a substantial chunk of the $1 billion settlement for the expensive U.S. 98 and Baldwin Beach Express extensions in South Alabama.
via Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley tosses support behind BP settlement for roads | AL.com.
On Saturday, Mobile’s GulfQuest museum will offer interested viewers an early look at “Dispatches from the Gulf,” a new documentary on the Gulf of Mexico’s recovery following the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
On Saturday, April 9, the GulfQuest National Maritime Museum of the Gulf Coast will screen the film four times in the museum’s theater. Showtimes are 1 p.m., 2:15 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 4:45 p.m.; normal admission prices to GulfQuest apply.
via GulfQuest to screen new Deepwater Horizon documentary Saturday | AL.com.
The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana has approved the settlement reached between the Deepwater Horizon oil spill Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees (Trustees) and BP for natural resource injuries stemming from the spill and also a settlement of the Clean Water Act violations with the United States. This settlement is the largest settlement of environmental claims in history. The Trustee Council, which includes the Alabama Trustees, will now begin implementing restoration as laid out in its comprehensive restoration plan.
Under this settlement, BP will pay the Trustees up to $8.8 billion for restoration to address natural resource injuries. The settlement includes:
$1 billion already committed during early restoration
$7.1 billion for restoration over 15-plus years, beginning in April 2017
Up to an additional $700 million to respond to natural resource damages unknown at the time of the agreement and/or to provide for adaptive management
Approximately $296 million of the natural resource damage settlement money is allocated specifically to fund restoration projects in Alabama. The Alabama Trustees also have the ability to seek additional funding from nearly $1.6 billion which has been set aside for Gulf region-wide and open ocean restoration.
via Court Approves the Largest Environmental Settlement in History | Outdoor Alabama.
A federal judge in New Orleans has granted final approval to an estimated $20 billion settlement, resolving years of litigation over the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier’s final order on the settlement was released Monday.
via BP oil spill: Judge approves $20 billion settlement | AL.com.
Gov. Robert Bentley’s fate may dominate the talk in Montgomery next week when the Legislature returns from its spring break. But coastal Alabama lawmakers will be pushing another priority to the head of the line: the BP oil spill settlement.
The Alabama Senate is expected to take up SB267, sponsored by Bill Hightower, R-Mobile, that would divert a substantial chunk of the $1 billion settlement to road projects, particularly in Mobile and Baldwin counties.
via Gov. Bentley scandal step aside: Coastal lawmakers focus on BP spill settlement | AL.com.
The world’s most endangered sea turtle, the Kemp’s Ridley, suffered a 34 percent decline in the number of nests laid in 2015 compared to the year before the BP oil spill, according to a new study authored by scientists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
via Astounding video of 26,000 sea turtles nesting highlights losses since BP oil spill, say UAB scientists | AL.com.
After a court fight and years of trying to rebuild a beachfront lodge destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004, Alabama has begun construction on a multimillion-dollar hotel and conference center that will partially funded by money from another Gulf Coast disaster: the BP oil spill.
via Work begins on Gulf State Park conference center restoration | AL.com.
As the world’s only museum dedicated to the Gulf of Mexico, it is fitting that GulfQuest/National Maritime Museum of the Gulf of Mexico will host the state of Alabama premiere of Dispatches From the Gulf, a new documentary that follows teams of scientists as they investigate the Deepwater Horizon oil spill’s effect on the world’s ninth largest body of water.
via GulfQuest to Show Documentary about Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Effects on the Gulf.
A bill gaining traction in the Alabama Senate could bring BP settlement money back to the Alabama Gulf Coast, and it would be used for three major highway expansions.
Senate Bill 267 proposes to reallocate $439 million from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Settlement to Mobile and Baldwin Counties.
via $439 million in BP settlement money could go back to Gulf Coast – FOX10 News | WALA.
FOX10 News | WALA
WEAR — Hundreds of millions of dollars in BP settlement money is supposed to be coming to Northwest Florida. But it has to go through Tallahassee first, and that has some local lawmakers worried.
They feel the money is at risk, even with a law on the books saying it has to come here.
Maggie Halsey’s story is a reminder of how devastating the oil spill was for Northwest Florida. She owns a beach wedding business called Barefoot Weddings.
via Local lawmakers concerned BP settlement money for NWFL is at risk | News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News | WEAR.
It seems the State of Alabama plans to move forward with the construction of a $58.5 million lodge and convention center at Gulf State Park, working through a federal judge’s ruling that has stalled the use of oil spill funds on the project.
In his ruling last Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Charles Butler said federal and state trustees overseeing the allocation of funds received in the immediate aftermath of the 2010 BP oil spill “clearly violated” two federal laws when they failed to properly evaluate reasonable alternatives to that particular part of the Gulf State Park enhancement currently underway in Gulf Shores.
via Alabama moving forward with Gulf State lodge despite loss in court – LagniappeLagniappe.
A federal judge has blocked the use of certain BP restoration funds stemming from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill from being used to rebuild a beachfront lodge and conference center on the Alabama coast.
U.S. District Judge Charles Butler wrote in his decision that the Trustees who were in charge of allocating the funds “acted arbitrarily and capriciously by failing to conduct a proper alternatives analysis,” as required by the Oil Pollution Act.
“The Court can, and will, enjoin the use of those funds pending further review by the Trustees,” Butler wrote. ”However, based on the administrative record before it, and the narrow issue presented by the pleadings, the Court cannot enjoin the Commissioner or the State from building the lodge/conference center with funds other than early restoration funds.”
via Court blocks use of BP restoration funds for Gulf State Park conference center | AL.com.
Federal Senior District Judge Charles R. Butler’s office issued a ruling blocking the expenditure of $58.5 million in National Resource Damage Assessment money to build a lodge in Gulf State Park in Gulf Shores.
The suit against NOAA and its parent agency, the Department of the Interior, says NRDA funds should be used for restoration in the wake of the BP oil spill and not rebuilding a hotel that was destroyed in a hurricane in 2004.
via Federal judge blocks funding grant for Gulf State Park Lodge – GulfCoastNewsToday.com: News.