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ALSC Called On To Aid Gulf State Public Interest Attorneys In Responding To The BP Oil Disaster

August 31, 2010 --  ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- The Gulf State Regional Consortium of Public Interest Lawyers and Advocates has reached out to Alaska Legal Services Corporation ("ALSC") to lend a hand in training Gulf states public interest lawyers responding to the BP oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico.

ALSC is a 40-year old non-profit law firm whose mission is to provide meaningful access to justice in resolving civil legal problems for low-income Alaska clients, thus promoting family stability and reducing the legal consequences of poverty.  ALSC serves a poverty population of about 80,000 and has 10 offices throughout the State of Alaska.

Over 20 years ago, ALSC attorneys were some of the first responders to the Exxon/Valdez oil spill.  Then-Governor Cowper, a former ALSC Board member, called on ALSC to participate in the Disaster Assistance Information Center.  ALSC sent attorneys and a paralegal to Cordova, Alaska, for several weeks immediately following the spill to assist those with spill-related legal problems.

Current ALSC Board President, Vance Sanders of Juneau, Alaska, was one of the attorneys initially sent to Prince William Sound following the 1989 spill.  Then the Supervising Attorney of ALSC's Juneau office, Mr. Sanders vividly remembers flying into the Native villages of Tatitlek and Chenega Bay mere days after the spill to help assess the situation.  "Having witnessed first hand the destruction and devastation of the Exxon Valdez spill, my heart goes out the Gulf residents; I want to be able to assist in anyway we can", said Sanders.

Mr. Sanders will travel to Pensacola, Florida in September 2010 to meet with and participate in the Consortium's training conference geared toward legal aid attorneys, non-profit public interest lawyers, and community advocates in the Gulf Coast region engaged in addressing claims and collateral legal matters arising out of the BP oil disaster. 

Mr. Sanders hopes to help those in the Gulf Coast region avoid the pitfalls of affected Alaskans.   More than anything, he wants to convey to the advocates that they must be in it for the long-haul as there is unlikely to be any quick resolution. 

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