Cigarette Tax fails to pass committee, BP Money fund

Aug 4, 2015

A legislative committee has voted down a proposed hike in Alabama's cigarette tax.  The votes kills a major proposal for filling a shortfall in the state's operating budget.

The Ways and Means General Fund Committee narrowly rejected the cigarette tax increase by an 8-7 today.

The bill would have boosted cigarette taxes by 25 cents per pack.

The increase would raise $66 million in revenue. The state general fund is facing a shortfall of $200 million for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1.

Gulf Coast officials are worried that their communities won't get their fair share of Alabama's $2.3 billion portion of the BP oil spill settlement.

Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft says members of the Gulf Coast Recovery Council have some unanswered questions about the settlement.

The plan would give the council control over $599 million, but about half of that spending would still require federal approval.


A federal judge will review an agreement to settle a desegregation case involving Huntsville city schools.

The school system and the Justice Department released the agreement on Monday. It's aimed at resolving disputes over the racial fairness of a student attendance plan devised last year.

The federal government objected to the plan arguing it didn't improve academic opportunities for black students.   The school system agrees to take several steps in the settlement, which follows mediation sessions.

Associated Press

BP has asked a federal judge to reconsider a ruling that could cost the oil giant around $18 billion in additional fines stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion.

Attorneys for BP PLC say in a motion filed Thursday evening that U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier's Sept. 4 ruling that the company acted with "gross negligence" in the disaster was based on testimony that had been excluded from the trial.

BP says Barbier should amend the judgment or hold a new trial.

Associated Press

In the first federal oil lease sale since the government said BP PLC can again get federal contracts, BP has bids on 31 tracts in the central Gulf of Mexico. The sale is also the first since 2008 offering tracts in the eastern gulf, but nobody bid on any of those tracts. A total of 42 companies bid on 326 blocks in the central gulf, and one company — Exxon Mobil Corp. — bid on three blocks in the western gulf. The bids will be opened and read out starting at 9 a.m. CDT.

Associated Press

Nearly four years after the Gulf oil spill, a political action committee associated with BP oil company is contributing to Alabama politicians' campaigns.

The Anniston Star says campaign contribution reports show a BP employee PAC gave $1,000 to Gov. Robert Bentley, $2,000 to House Speaker Mike Hubbard, and $500 each to Rep. Terri Collins of Decatur, Rep. Micky Hammon of Decatur, Rep. Ed Henry of Decatur, Rep. Ken Johnson of Moulton, Sen. Arthur Orr of Decatur, and Sen. Vivian Davis Figures of Mobile.

Associated Press

A trial over the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf is now focusing on how much crude gushed from BP's blown-out well.

Lawyers for BP and the federal government today began to offer conflicting scientific theories to explain their different estimates.

The amount of oil that spewed into the Gulf is a key factor in determining how much more money BP and its contractors owe for their roles in the deadly disaster.

ideum / Flickr

BP has urged a federal judge to rule the company can't be penalized for millions of gallons of oil that spewed from its blown-out well but was captured before it could spill into the Gulf of Mexico.

A court filing Friday by BP says the federal government overestimated the size of the spill because workers captured more than 34 million gallons of crude and either burned it or shipped it to shore.

http://www.alabama.travel/ / Alabama Tourism Department

More than 100 nonprofit groups and government entities have been picked to get shares of $43.7 million in BP funds to promote the Gulf Coast's tourism and seafood industries following the company's 2010 oil spill.

The first round of grants announced Wednesday by court-supervised claims administrator Patrick Juneau is part of a proposed settlement between BP and a team of private plaintiffs' attorneys.

The deal calls for BP to fund a total of $57 million in tourism and seafood promotion grants.

BP Says Old Oil From Spill Exposed By Isaac

Sep 5, 2012
NOAA's National Ocean Servie / Flickr

BP says Hurricane Isaac's scouring waves exposed deposits of buried tar on the Louisiana coast that were left over from its massive oil spill in 2010. Louisiana officials closed a stretch of beach near Fourchon on Tuesday after scouts said they found large tar mats. BP acknowledged Wednesday the oil was from its spill.

Board Says BP Missed The Big Hazard Issues In Spill

Jul 24, 2012
ideum / Flickr

A government investigative committee says BP and the drilling contractor it hired to operate the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded two years ago focused too closely on personal safety at the expense of preventing major hazards.

The conclusions are contained in the preliminary findings of an investigation into the April 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill conducted by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board.

Eleven workers were killed in April 2010 when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, causing 200 million gallons of oil to gush into Gulf waters.