(MONTGOMERY)— Alabama Attorney General Troy King traveled to Jackson, Mississippi, yesterday for a meeting of the Gulf Coast States Attorneys General with Mr. Jack Lynch, Senior General Counsel for the United States for British Petroleum.
Before departing Mobile for Jackson, Attorney General King addressed a meeting of local officials concerned about their communities saying that, "I am headed to Jackson to deliver the message to BP that this is their disaster and it is their responsibility. So far, I commend their responsible position that they intend to pay claims for the injuries they cause. However, I want to see the terms of this commitment memorialized to writing so that Alabamians can understand their rights." Before returning to Montgomery, Attorney General King praised the unprecedented co-operation occurring between the states saying, "We have never seen state officials working together across geographic and political boundaries like this before. Truly, we understand that the Gulf Coast belongs to all of us. We are all in this together."
Commenting on the meeting in Jackson, Attorney General said, "Our discussions today were worthwhile and productive. We expect to see BP's commitments in writing very soon. That includes their commitment to an expedited claims process for those being affected by this disaster. After hearing about the great fear and hardship that our residents are already experiencing, BP pledged to process most claims within 48 hours. A toll-free telephone number (800-440-0858) has been established to handle the filing of claims. In addition, in Alabama we are working to establish a partnership between my Consumer Protection Division and the State and Mobile County Bar Associations to provide on-site claims assistance for those dealing with this crisis. This will be Alabamians helping Alabamians. We also expect BP to commit to writing their position that the liability limitations of the Oil Pollution Act are not now, and will not, limit their commitment to pay for the effects of this oil spill."
Tom Methvin, President of the Alabama Bar Association, who has made increasing volunteerism among attorneys the touchstone of his tenure as President, said, "we have over 4000 lawyers at the Alabama state bar who have agreed to advise clients for free. We will be marshaling some of our forces to provide several public meetings to help people understand what their options are and particularly to understand what they may be signing."