Coastal Delegation Hopes BP Settlement Money Returns to the Coast

A large portion of allocating that $1.5 billion will fall on the shoulders of the state Legislature.
News 25 spoke with your coastal delegation today about what their role will be in the allocation process.
State lawmakers will have to decide how exactly half of the $1.5 billion settlement will be allocated over the next 17 years.
Scott Delano, District 117 representative, said, “It will be incumbent toward our delegation to fight for keeping as much of that money here on the local area as possible and that will be a tough challenge.”
That challenge lies in making sure the settlement money doesn’t get swept in with the rest of the state’s budget. Delano tells News 25 with a budget over $5.6 billion, next years’ $150 million in settlement money will be absorbed quickly. It’s also important to note that money is going into the general fund and the general fund goes towards paying for projects statewide.
District 122 Representative David Baria said, “You know there are going to be folks in other parts of the state. Maybe those people might be chairman of a committee or two that want to get their hands on some of this money and the Coast delegation just has to stay united and strong.”
Baria says as negotiations take place in the legislature on this money, he hopes nobody forgets that the impact of the oil spill was suffered right here on the Coast: “So, what I hope is the money that comes into the Mississippi Legislature comes right back down to the three coastal counties that were impacted by the spill.”
Now five years after the spill, legislators are happy Mississippi is finally being paid this money by BP but Delano says this is just the first of many chapters yet to be written. “Yes, today was a step in the right direction, but I still want to make sure that the local businesses and individuals get their BP settlements done as quickly as possible.”
Legislators tell News 25 they would like to see some of the settlement money go toward roadway projects as well as environmental research and protection.

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