A council that's supposed to develop a plan to restore the environment and economy after the BP oil spill is holding its first public meeting.
The Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council meets Tuesday afternoon in Mobile. The council includes federal officials and state officials from the five Gulf Coast states. A spokesman for Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said he plans to attend the meeting.
Members of Alabama's congressional delegation say the Obama administration should continue pursuing BP over the Gulf oil spill.
The company has agreed to pay $4.5 billion in criminal penalties, but many civil claims over the 2010 oil spill aren't resolved.
Sen. Jeff Sessions of Mobile says he hopes the Justice Department continues pursuing BP under the Clean Water Act and the Restore Act, which was passed to send money to communities affected by the spill.
Leaders and activists on the Alabama coast are pleased BP will face criminal penalties for the Gulf oil spill, but they say civil payments are the real key.
The executive director of Mobile Baykeeper, Casi Callaway, said Thursday oil still washes on to the Alabama coast daily and criminal sanctions are warranted. She wants to know how much money will be available for repairing the environment.
Nearly two dozen groups in Alabama will share more than $8 million in oil spill funds to promote Gulf Coast tourism and seafood. The administrator of the claims process for the 2010 oil spill, Patrick Juneau, announced the first round of grants this week.
BP is spending $57 million to bolster the tourism and seafood industries as part of a proposed settlement for the 2010 oil spill that sullied local beaches and put a dent in the regional economy.