Hurricane season and oil spill on minds of legislators and EMA

By Ashley Nix

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Hurricane season started June 1 and with the massive oil spill, coupled with a predicted dangerous hurricane season, concerns are growing amongst legislators.

Concerns are also mounting for state legislators about the state's budget, and what this disaster is doing to already thin funds.

Wednesday, Jefferson County legislators got a crash course on how EMA officials respond when there's a disaster.  It's valuable information considering hurricane season has already started.

But there's a bigger concern, the  oil spill coupled with hurricane season.  State Representative Allen Treadaway says those predicaments would be a disaster.  "That is a worst case scenario," Treadaway said.  "That would be the perfect storm, we hope that doesn't happen, but we have to be prepared and that's the key."

Representative Paul DeMarco is also disturbed about the predicament.  "That's the concern," DeMarco said.  "That this couldn't have happened at any worse time."

EMA Director Alan Kniphfer says his employees are ready to travel south, if duty calls.  "We're ready to go if the state EMA needs us," Kniphfer said.  "It's not just Baldwin County's problem, it's the State of Alabama's problem, it's the United States problem, we all gotta work together."

DeMarco and Treadaway are also concerned about the state's budget and just how much money the state will lose in tourism dollars because of the oil crisis.  "Were getting hit from every angle," DeMarco said.  "You have the economic downturn, then you have this happen, when we come back and write budgets, its only speculation but how much this will affect the State of Alabama."

Perhaps Treadaway put it best.  "This is the last thing we needed what's going on in the gulf."

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