June 13th, 2010
10:53 AM ET
13 years ago

Riley frustrated with 'committee' approach to oil spill response

(CNN) – On the eve of President Obama’s fourth visit to the Gulf Coast region, the Republican governor of Alabama sounded a familiar tone of frustration with how the administration is handling the federal response to the Gulf oil spill.

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.

Related: Obama to push BP to set up escrow fund to pay damage claims

“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.

Filed under: Alabama • Bob Riley • BP • State of the Union
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. WHAT

    These are the same, Drill baby Drill, keep government out of my life people who now wants to know where is big government.

    June 13, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  2. Hendrik

    Oh shut up governer. Everybody is working so quit babbling and get to work. Get that shovel out and clean up some of that oil that is the result of your party's Drill, Baby, Drill attitude.

    Remember the smaller government you wanted. Well, buddy, here it is for ya.

    You got what you deserved.

    June 13, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  3. bill

    I live on the Alabama coast, and while the Alabama authorities have made their share of major mistakes since the spill started, the federal government bears blame for not having one person in command and letting the states of LA, MS, AL, and FL fight among themselves for money and for federal help.

    It reminds one of Ivan and Katrina which pitted the different departments of the government against each other as well as making infighting among the affected state governments happen.

    It is a mess down here.

    June 13, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  4. Discernment


    The anti-government Tea Party has been quiet on the issue of BP disaster. The Tea Party is not sure whether to:

    (a.) . . . blame BP for the Gulf Coast mega oil-spill disaster and force BP to pay for the clean up? . . . . or . . .

    (b.) . . . ask President Obama to provide "socialist" federal assistance to the Gulf State advocates of "drill-baby-drill" who helped create this catastrophe in their own backyard?

    June 13, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
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