BP Settlement and Gulf Restoration
On July 2, the federal government and the Gulf Coast states of Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas announced an $18.7 billion dollar settlement for claims against BP related to the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. If approved by a judge, it would be the largest environmental settlement and the largest civil settlement with any single entity in U.S. history. Florida’s share of the settlement totals $3.25 billion. Florida’s $2 billion allocation for economic loss claims is more than any other state received with the additional $1.25 billion going toward addressing environmental damage.
County governments in Southwest Florida and all along the Gulf coast are considering how best to utilize their share of the settlement money. The Deepwater Horizon rig explosion and subsequent oil spill took the lives of 11 people and resulted in some 200 million gallons of crude oil spewing into the Gulf of Mexico. Although no oil reached Southwest Florida beaches, the local tourism industry took a significant hit, at a time when the economic recession was already in full swing. We’ll get reaction to and details on the settlement as we explore how the funding could be used to resolve economic loss claims and environmental restoration projects.