ORANGE BEACH, Alabama – Should the state of Alabama take over oil spill clean up operations? It’s an option under consideration and mirrors the level of frustration felt along the coast when it comes to what’s not happening with BP’s clean up.
Grab a chair and a towel. Alabama beaches haven’t looked this good in ten months. “They are as oil free as our technology will let them be and you won’t see the oil on the beach.”
The concern is what you don’t see. “We want to see the whole job done and we also want to understand what is off shore or near shore from the tar mat standpoint and we want that addressed.” To make sure that happens state incident commander Steve Jenkins with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management says Alabama could take over clean up operations of it’s own beaches, splitting from unified command.
“At some point the unified command is going to say we’re done. At that point Alabama stands up and says, no we’re not. Here’s what else we need to get done and we carry that forward with BP.”
It’s a move that no one wants to see happen but has the full support of the mayors in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores if it gets to that point. But not everybody is happy about the idea. “I really don’t trust those guys right now, they’ve been fiddling around a long time.” Orange Beach city councilman Ed Carroll worries about a state take over. “The ones I’ve talked to don’t seem to concerned about the toxicity of the oil and it’s not something to take too lightly.”
The bottom line: everything associated with the oil spill has to be clean and safe. Nothing less will do says Jenkins.
“We think we can get more done with the unified command but if the fundamental needs of the state and the communities are not being met then we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do to get those needs met.”
Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft is out of town but told News Five over the phone he is “Completely behind the move, one way or the other the beaches have to be cleaned.”
Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon says “We can take care of ourselves with the proper funding.” He says crews are just now implementing ideas in the clean up they suggested months ago.