Mississippi Gulf Coast Regional Board Discusses BP Claim

The Mississippi Gulf Coast Regional Board is now the newest group demanding BP pay them back for lost revenue.
The board says due to the spill, the Coast experienced a drop in tourism and now they want BP to pay that back. News 25’s Bryan Kennedy has the details.
After the BP oil spill, you could still see people on South Mississippi beaches and at our barrier islands, but instead of soaking up the sun, spilling tourist dollars into our local economy, they were picking up tar balls and other debris left in the spill’s wake.
At first glance, hotel occupancy numbers after the oil spill may seem normal, but local tourism leaders tell News 25 that these numbers are misleading.
Renee Areng, executive director at Visit Mississippi Gulf Coast, said, “Those that were staying in the hotels at the time were really clean-up workers and not tourists.”
According to the board, since they weren’t tourists, they weren’t here to spend money and more than likely had no plans to return to our area. Clean-up workers also stayed in rooms for discounted prices, all taking a negative toll on the Coast’s strongest economic engine, tourism.
Today, the Mississippi Gulf Coast Regional Board held a special meeting to discuss and vote on a settlement offer with BP to help offset some of the negative impacts resulting from the disastrous spill.
Matthew Mestayer, from Reeves and Mestayer Attorneys, said, “We’ve got a recommendation from a group of neutrals, essentially it’s a group put together by BP to kind of mediate a resolution and they didn’t have the authority to make an offer on behalf of BP. They’ve come up with a number that they recommend and they’re taking that to BP.”
Now that the board has decided on an offer amount, all that’s left do is wait. And now, when and if they receive this money from BP, they already have plans on what to do with it. “So, this helps us get the message out to visitors to come back. That everything is beautiful and beaches are clean and the environment is lovely,” said Areng.
The board tells News 25 they hope to hear back from BP by the end of next week.

Categories: Local News, News

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