BP Settlement Meeting
Coast residents voice their opinion on how legislature should spend BP settlement funds during a meeting organized by Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves.
News 25’s Kendra Turley takes us inside the first of three town hall meetings scheduled along the Gulf Coast.
The state of Mississippi is set to receive $750 million over the next 15 years from the BP oil disaster. Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves said he would like to see the majority of those dollars spent right here in South Mississippi. “I wanted to give the residents of the Gulf Coast an opportunity to have their say in how the state ought to be spending this money.”
Reeves planned town hall meetings in Harrison, Hancock and Jackson County to help build the united front he says is needed to keep the BP money where most of the oil spill damaged occurred. Biloxi resident Martha Boyce said, “This is a very important opportunity to put a face, shake a hand, to bring forth the information and to be sure that all the people are heard.”
A packed house filled the Lyman Community Center in Gulfport for the first of three Tate Talks. The meeting allowed residents a chance to interact with lawmakers one-on-one and present their ideas for how the money should be allocated. Former Biloxi Mayor Gerald Blessey said, “To create a Mississippi Gulf Coast recovery trust fund and requesting the legislature to put 80 percent of the money into this trust fund.”
Biloxi resident Thao Bu said, “Investing in docks and harbors, ice houses as well as other business support services we think they need.”
While ideas on what the settlement money should be spent on varied, all agreed on where it should be spent: South Mississippi. “The vast majority of the effects were here in South Mississippi. I’m not here to try and do this because it’s a good thing to do politically. I think it’s the right thing to do and that’s one reason I’m here fighting for that,” said Reeves.