(FAIRHOPE, Ala.) Frustration and anger tonight from state leaders over money from the BP oil spill disaster. Mayors from Mobile and Baldwin counties met with state leaders to discuss funds from the Restore Act.
They are all waiting on answers from the federal government about a possible settlement with BP. There are fears a settlement could divert restore act funds from the Gulf Coast.
Leaders from nearly every Gulf Coast community affected by the oil spill attended Tuesday's meeting. All agree money from the Restore Act should be in local control. "We actually have not heard anything since last week, " said Alabama Governor Robert Bentley.
Bentley says the silence coming from Washington is frustrating. Congressman Jo Bonner agrees. "This silence suggests that the Justice Department has slowed this process down. I'm not in on any of those conversations. It could mean that the voices that have been raised by at least 10 of the Gulf Coast lawmakers, Democrats and Republicans, have been heard. They sent a very direct message to the President to back off this," said Bonner.
It could also mean, says Bonner, that a settlement agreement between BP and the Department of Justice is imminent .
Governor Bentley says negotiating for Alabama and Mobile and Baldwin counties is his top priority."A suit in court may be dragged out over a number of years and it may be more valuable than taking what is offered.That's something you always have to look at ," said Bentley.
The Restore Act, if left intact, could provide up to 30 billion dollars for the Gulf Coast. If there's a settlement, the money would be the same but in Alabama local control of the money could be lost.