MOBILE, Alabama – A majority of people in Alabama said the government should make restoring the Gulf Coast a top priority.
That’s according to the results of a new poll.
The poll on the gulf coast environment was a telephone survey of 409 likely voters across Alabama.
It was presented by environmental groups, like Mobile Baykeeper.
On how much the environmental health of the gulf coast region affects Alabama, a vast majority, 85 percent, said very much or somewhat.
Meantime, the man in charge of the recovery said money needs to be funneled to the Gulf Coast because people are hurting.
Navy Secretary Ray Maybus acknowledged the effects of the oil spill on the Gulf Coast during a visit Wednesday to Mobile.
He said, “The coast is the place that took the hit. The people of the coast are the people who were hurt.”
Maybus said money to help Alabama could come from penalties levied against BP.
He said, “There’s a lot of different ways that those penalties could be done. Those penalties could be negotiated. They may have to be litigated.”
Another finding of the poll was that a big majority of those surveyed, 80 percent, thought it was extremely or very important for the federal government to take action to restore the health of the Gulf region.
But, for penalty money to go to states affected by the spill, like Alabama, Maybus said Congress may have to change the law.
Still, he believes that can happen.
Maybus said, “This is absolutely bi-partisan. The oil didn’t differentiate between Democrats and Republicans.”
As for how important a priority it is to clean up the spill and make the Gulf even better than it was before the accident, an even larger majority, 88 percent said that was extremely or very important.
However, the poll also showed that two of every three Alabamians favor offshore drilling.