Our state legislature pushed to the last minute a proposed agreement on spending $750 million in BP settlement money for economic damages on the coast. Then the last minute came and went Monday night and still we have no plan.
Coast civic and business leaders originally fought to keep all the money here since the coast is where the damage occurred from the 2010 oil disaster. Then the coast conceded that 20% or $150 million could go away from the coast. Then the deal got worse with $250 million going away from the coast.
Maybe then we could swallow that bitter pill if the other $500 million was truly guaranteed to come to the coast. But the last plan discussed was that the legislature could still vote each year on the spending of the BP dollars and take more of the money elsewhere in the state.
It appears to us this is no real deal at all, only a statement to try to appease the coast leaders and then slowly take the millions year after year to other areas of the state. We understand that lawmakers from other areas of the state want money to fund projects in their backyards.
Our lawmakers want the same thing. But taking money that should clearly be earmarked for the coast is wrong.
It's time for the entire house and senate to do the right thing in a special session and stop the money grab of dollars that are needed to improve the coastal economy so badly damaged by the 2010 oil disaster.
That's our opinion, we would like to hear yours. Email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
WLOX-TV General Manager
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