Group fights plan to use BP funds for Alabama project

FILE - In this April 21, 2010 file photo, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig burns in the Gulf of Mexico. In the year since the Gulf oil spill, officials along the coast have gone on a spending spree with BP money, dropping tens of millions of dollars on gadgets, vehicles and gear _ much of which had little to do with the cleanup, an Associated Press investigation shows. The oil giant opened its checkbook while the crisis was still unfolding last spring and poured hundreds of millions of dollars into Gulf Coast communities with few strings attached. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – An environmental group is fighting a decision to let Alabama use nearly $60 million in Gulf oil spill funds to build a beachfront convention center.

The New Orleans-based Gulf Restoration Network filed suit Thursday claiming the money should go to restore wetlands and other parts of the ecosystem, not construct a resort.

The organization sued over a decision by the Interior Department and other federal agencies to let Alabama use $58.5 million in oil spill recovery money to build the new complex at Gulf State Park.

Alabama has tried for years to build a new resort to replace one destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

The state got the restoration money following the 2010 oil spill.

Neither the Interior Department nor the state has commented on the lawsuit.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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