Alabama House to debate how to spend BP oil spill settlement


The Alabama House Ways and Means Committee approved a plan on Tuesday for spending Alabama’s settlement money from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon “BP” oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The plan, devised primarily by Ozark-Republican and Committee Chairman Steve Clouse, calls for the state to create a $639 million bond issue and apply the BP payments to pay off the bonds. Under the plan, $450 million of the settlement would be used for debt repayment and nearly $200 million toward road projects in coastal counties.

Clouse, said paying debt early would free up state funds and provide nearly all of additional $85 million in funding requested by Alabama Medicaid, by creating a surplus of $70 million in this year’s budget and next year’s budget.

The House approved a similar plan in April, but the spending proposals fell apart over a disagreement between northern and southern Alabama lawmakers over how much money should be spent on state debt versus road projects in south Alabama.

House and Senate Republicans plan to meet Wednesday to discuss a workable agreement.

A vote on the bill could come as early as Wednesday.



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