Governor Riley: Federal government just getting in the way

By Nate Hall

GULF SHORES, AL (WBRC) – Governor Bob Riley says he is disappointed over President Barack Obama's response after visiting the Gulf Shores.

In a satellite interview on Good Day Alabama, Riley spoke up about how he thinks the President is adding to an already troublesome process in getting work going to clean up the oil spill.

"Well, he said exactly all the right things when we were on the beach," said Riley. "I think that was what was so disappointing to me, last night.  I watched the President when he understood what was going on… I think it was a little disappointing to see him morph this into a political debate about alternative energies going forward."

The Governor says that he feels there needs to be a "laser-like" focus on the oil spill and that there is no second chance. "Once we have oil in these estuaries, once they get into the marshes, once we lose our tourist season for the summer, we don't get a second chance at that," add Riley. "If you want to have a political debate over cap-and-trade, have it. Just not now."

Riley says he wants to see claims for those with legitimate oil issues hurried up and wants more boats and skimmers in the water. "We need to do everything we can for that area, because we do not get a second chance," said the Governor.

When it comes down to the unified command over the cleanup, Riley is not a fan. According to him, there are several federal agencies with veto power getting in the way of accomplishing necessary actions. "We say we're going to put a snare boom on the beach to catch the oil. Someone says it'll catch the turtles. We'll put five hundred people out there on the beach to pick up the oil. The OSHA comes in and says you can't ask them to work in the heat for over 20 minutes in an hour," says Riley. "Everyone down there tells us what we cannot do."

Governor Riley says he plans to remove oversight of the cleanup away from the unified command to the local level. "We'll be giving it to the cities and counties. Giving them the money they need to go out and implement their own plans."

According to the Governor, the Federal Government has only exacerbated the oil spill cleanup plans.

Riley says he could fall in with the idea of an appointed cleanup deputy if that deputy has the authority to make an immediate decision without any overruling. Otherwise, he feels this will just add another layer of bureaucracy to an already burdening problem.

As for the President, Riley feels like the push for alternate energy sources cannot help the situation in the Gulf. "It is actually going to make it more work. It's going to be worse than it has been, because we are going to have polarized sides about alterative energy policy," says Riley. "We can do that later. Not now."

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