Related: Obama heading back to Gulf Coast
Gov. Bob Riley said Sunday that he would like to speak with the president about the administration’s “unified command” structure for the oil spill response.
“What we have is a committee. It’s a committee that essentially consists of all the different federal agencies sitting down here and as a committee each one has a veto over whatever policies we have,” Riley said on CNN’s State of the Union. “You can’t continue to do that. We’re going to have one person who makes the call on what we do and where.”
After painting a picture of an unnerving, never ending web of federal decision makers all weighing in to assert their respective jurisdictions and veto decisions by their counterparts, Riley told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley that the situation was unworkable.
“You can’t have a committee making the decisions that are going to impact this entire coastal area.”
He added, “Someone is going to have to be in charge of each one of these operations. They’re going to have to make a determination about what we’re going to do and they’re going to have to set priorities.”
Riley said a wide net should be cast in the effort to compensate the public for economic losses related to the oil spill.
Asked by Crowley what classes of people should be compensated, Riley agreed that workers in the oil industry, fisherman, hotel owners, and shop owners should all be paid by BP for losses arising from the negative impact on Alabama’s economy, particularly during summer, which is the height of the tourist season.
“I don’t think there is a dividing line. I don’t think you can say that one group is going to get it and another one doesn’t,” Riley said.
“The whole economy is based on the tourist market and when it goes away someone has got to compensate them because most of these people [who own businesses] are not going to be here next year if we don’t”
Riley also told Crowley that BP should compensate the state of Alabama for lost tax receipts caused by the downturn in the coastal economy.