TALLAHASSEE, FLA. -- Officials in the Florida Panhandle and other Gulf coast areas that suffered through the BP oil spill are asking Congress to make things right.
Business and government officials along Florida's Gulf coast are asking Congress to make sure the states that were damaged by the BP oil spill get most of the fines that will be collected once the legal battles are done.
Wakulla County Commissioner Alan Brock says all they have to do is approve what's known as the "Restore Act."
"This will ensure that the penalties paid by BP oil, and others responsible for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, will be used to rebuild the economies of the Gulf Coast," he said.
The companies involved in the oil spill could be fined as much as $22 billion for violating the Clean Water Act.
Gulf coast business and tourism officials say that money should be used to undo the damage done almost two years ago.
The "Restore Act" started out with bi-partisan support, but has since run into opposition from conservative senators in western states that were not affected by the oil spill.
The political tug-of-war could wind up slowing economic recoveries around the Gulf states, and could even result in them never seeing a penny from the fines.
If congress doesn't pass the Restore Act, the BP fines will go into the treasury and Congress would be free to spend it on whatever that body chooses.