Alabama leaders, lawmakers unite on Gulf Coast

By Alan Collins

MONTGOMERY, AL (WBRC) - Alabama leaders and lawmakers say more needs to be done to help folks on Gulf Coast.

Work continued Tuesday to try and contain the oil spill. Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks lead a delegation of statehouse democratic leaders to assess the situation on the Gulf.

"We want to know if every claim laid on the table is dealt with responsibly and with speed," Sparks said.

Lawmakers were told only ten percent of the claims made to BP have been processed. The delegation was impressed with the state and federal agencies handling of the situation but they say more needs to be done to get checks those who need money.

"Even with the best plans we are going to have to depend on the almighty," Rep Ken Guin of Cabon Hill said.

The lawmakers fear Alabama's multi-million dollars tourism industry could be hurt by the oil spill. The leadership says more promotion is need to get out the message that Alabama beaches are unharmed.

"BP has put up $25 million," Rep. John Knight said. "We need more to show the gulf is open for business."

The legislators say they are willing to be called into special session.

"I want Governor Riley to know we, if there is anything he needs to handle from an executive standpoint, we are willing back into special session,"Sen. Lowell Barron of Fyffe said.

The legislature has been at odds with Governor Riley in the past, but the Democrat leadership said they want people on the Gulf Coast to know they are willing to work together to provide any sort of help.

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