Mississippi to get $1.5 Billion in BP Settlement

Today the five Gulf States affected by the BP oil spill all settled federal and state claims in the largest environmental settlement in history.
Of the $18.7 billion settled, Mississippi is reeling in $1.5 billion, but where will this money go?
News 25’s Laurene Callendar was on hand as the governor and state attorney general shared initial details on today’s settlement.
Governor Bryant said, “Eleven men died, four from Mississippi. It was one of the largest, if not the largest, oil spills in America’s history.” And now it has become the largest payout of any environmental lawsuit settlement in American history, with Mississippi netting $1.5 billion today.
State Attorney General Jim Hood says he believes our state did well, reeling in seven times more than initial projections from the state’s economic damages, a final agreement he credits to state-wide teamwork.
“After Katrina, I think we learned to act like grown-ups in these situations and I’m proud to say that our coast counties and communities came together and worked with our office,” said Hood.
The money will be divided up in three areas totaling $1.5 billion over the next 17 years. This is in addition to $659 million previously allocated to the state, bringing the finally tally to $2.2 billion for our state. The money will be split in three areas: $183 million for natural resource damage assessment, $582 million for Restore Act and $750 million for economic damages.
The main focus at today’s press conference in Biloxi was how the $750 million in economic damages will be allocated.
Attorney General Jim Hood said, “$750 million that we recovered, just on economic damages, it will go to the legislature to appropriate.”
Governor Bryant agreed that the majority of the $750 million should land right here in South Mississippi, the area most impacted by the disastrous spill, but ultimately it will be up to state law makers.
Governor Bryant said, “I see the delegation affirming that that will take place. That would be my recommendation, but of course the legislature doesn’t always listen to my recommendations, but I know your delegations is going to make sure that those funds that are allocated through the general fund, which will be quite large over the next 15 to 17 years, $150 million then $40 million after that, I feel quite certain your delegation, that money, all or as much as possible, is allocated to the Gulf Coast. It should be in my opinion.”
“I just finished speaking with some of the legislators on the coast. They’ll make sure that money gets back to the coast where it belongs,” said Hood.
The agreement covers claims from Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Louisiana.

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