Mayor, area businesses respond to BP oil spill ruling

GULF SHORES, Ala. (WALA) – On September 4, 2014 a judge ruled that BP’s recklessness caused the 2010 Gulf oil spill, opening up the possibility for $18 million in penalties. BP has already said they plan to appeal the decision, a process that could take years.

“This is a start,” said Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft.

Craft said he doesn’t expect to see the money soon.

He said south Baldwin County has already recovered economically for the most part. As far as the environment, it could take years to really understand how the oil will effect ocean life and trickle down the food chain.

Leading up to this trial, BP had promised billions of dollars to businesses damaged by the oil spill. Some of those businesses were paid. Others were not.

Ike Williams’ business in Gulf Shores is one of those that has yet to see a check.

“We just want to get paid,” said Williams, owner of Ike’s Rentals.

When oil started spilling into the ocean in 2010, Williams said he didn’t know if his business would make it out of the tragedy.

“I thought my business was going to be over after 35 years of renting chairs and umbrellas on the beach it was just going to be an oil bath out there,” he said.

Shortly after the spill, Williams got involved with the cleanup. BP hired him and his staff to run their beach cleaners all the way up and down the coast past the Alabama state line.

Williams said he is pleased with they way BP initially handled the spill, but wants to see the money that was lost.

“I just want them to do what they said they were going to do if they’re going to financially reimburse us for the damages that we have, then write the check.”

Now BP may be dealing with an even bigger check to write. BP plans to appeal the decision, but Mayor Craft said eventually, the Gulf Coast will see the money.

“You’ve got to begin the process, so it may be ten years down the road but sooner or later, the five states in the areas that were damaged will get some recovery dollars,” he said.

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