Frustration remains six months after oil spill

Posted by Samuel King - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -  Six months after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, people are walking along Alabama's Beaches, even wading in the water.

"Six months ago, we were afraid, I was afraid we were just gonna be covered with oil and it would ruin everything and everything would look bad," said Lewis Byrd of Dauphin Island.

200 million gallons of oil gushed into the Gulf of Mexico in the months following the rig explosion.  The spill devastated communities from Louisiana to Florida, including Alabama's coastline.

Life has returned to the beaches, but some say it's taking too long for life to return to normal.

"It seems like groundhog day every day around here," said Mayor Tony Kennon, of Orange Beach.  "The same thing over and over, we're pulling teeth to get things done."

Many people remain frustrated over the claims process, but numbers from the Gulf Coast Claims Facility show Alabama may be faring better than other Gulf Coast states.

More than 35,000 Alabama-based claims have been filed.  Of that number, 46% of those claims have been paid and approved so far. That compares to 45% for Florida, 27% for Louisiana and nearly 26% for Mississippi.

There are many more claims based in Louisiana and Florida than Alabama. Despite that, Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon says businesses are still suffering.

"There's still so much to be done, claims are not being paid like they should be, especially our big businesses.  They're really in a difficult situation."

BP has begun deep-cleaning Alabama's beaches.  Alabama coastal towns want the cleaning done by the first of the year.  Scientists say it may take much longer to determine the environmental damage of the oil spill.

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