Alabama begins work on beachfront hotel using BP money

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Gulf State Park (courtesy facebook.com/GulfStatePark)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) – Alabama is using BP funds to construct a multimillion-dollar beachfront hotel and conference center just weeks after a federal judge blocked the state from paying for the work with money from the oil giant.

The director of the project, Cooper Shattuck, says the construction work under way at Gulf State Park is legal because the judge only shut the lid on one pot of money from the BP oil spill. He says the project is being funded from another pile of BP money.

A group that sued over the project, the Gulf Restoration Network, says the work is disappointing but legally OK if the state is telling the truth.

The 350-room hotel and conference center will replace a state lodge that was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in 2004.