Alabama Attorney General Troy King said Thursday he plans to sue BP PLC, seeking tax revenue lost because of the impact of the Gulf oil spill on businesses and to recoup any state money spent on the cleanup.
King criticized the job BP and claims administrator Kenneth Feinberg have done in resolving claims. He did not have a timetable for filing the lawsuit or indicate how much money the state would seek.
"Make no mistake -- we will be ready and we will pursue all violations of our state's statutes and regulations and we will obtain complete financial restitution for all losses and impacts," King said.
But a spokesman for Gov. Bob Riley, Todd Stacy, said talk of a lawsuit "seems premature."
"There's no dispute that BP is the responsible party and there's no dispute they are going to pay," Stacy said. He said Riley believes it would be better to attempt to resolve claims out of court.
King says the lawsuit will be filed by the Alabama law firm of Balch Bingham. The lawyers will get up to 14 percent of what they recover for the state. Stacy said Riley has not yet signed off on a contract to hire the lawyers. Under state law, the governor must approve state contracts.
The attorney general made the announcement at a news conference with the two nominees for governor, Republican Robert Bentley and Democrat Ron Sparks, who voiced support for King's litigation.