BILOXI, Miss.–The BP oil spill in 2010 will bring Mississippi an additional $1.5 billion in settlement money to help restore the state, announced Gov. Phil Bryant and Atty. Gen. Jim Hood at a joint news conference at the Dept. of Marine Resources headquarters in Biloxi Thursday morning.
Mississippi will get the money in increments, beginning with an initial payment of $150 million in 2016.
“We’ll get a $150 million check in January,” said Hood. “They’ll skip a couple of years and it’ll be $40 million a year until 20133.”
Some of that money must be used for environmental concerns.
“Natural resource damages will be $183 million. This will be used primarily in environmental restoration<‘ said Bryant. He said money from the Clean Water Act, or the RESTORE Act will be $582 million, which can be used for a number of different kinds of restoration project.”
He said $750 million in economic damages will go to the legislature to appropriate.
THE PRESS CONFERENCE
Hood said the credit for such a large settlement goes to cities, counties and agencies gathering information on the kinds of damage that were done by the Deepwater Horizon explosion and spill, which killed four Mississippians.
“Mike Moore, a coast son, helped get our counties and cities together and put this negotiation together and spent quite a bit of time doing that. We started out with less than $100 million and ended up with $750 million in economic damages. That’s because a lot of our agencies got information together and a lot of our cities and counties worked hard to put together our economic damage model.”
Bryant said Mississippi was ready for the settlement because of teamwork, starting in 2012.
“I formed GoCoast 2020 in August 2012. The purpose was to make sure that we had our plan prepared, so that we could show the courts that we were serious about our recovery,” said Bryant.
He said he believed that even though the legislature would have control over where the money from the first $150 million check will go, he believes the coast delegation of legislators will make sure much of it is spent in counties where damage happened.
From a news release from Bryant’s camp:
Breakdown of New Agreement in Principle
The $1.5 billion agreement in principle includes:
- Approximately $183 million in Natural Resource Damage Assessment payments, to be paid over 15 years, which will be used primarily for environmental restoration;
- approximately $582 million in Clean Water Act penalties under the RESTORE Act. These funds will be paid over 15 years and used primarily for environmental projects, research and economic development;
- $750 million in economic damages paid over 17 years as a result of Mississippi’s own lawsuit against BP. Mississippi is scheduled to receive a payment of $150 million in 2016 and equal yearly payments of $40 million from 2019-2033. The funds will be available for appropriation by the Mississippi Legislature.
Breakdown of $659 Million in Early Funding
- $112.557 million in Natural Resource Damage Assessment Early Restoration payments;
- $106 million in early RESTORE Act payments;
- $356 million in National Fish and Wildlife Foundation payments;
- $85.168 in initial response payments.
TOTAL RESTORATION FUNDS TO THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI: $2.174 billion.
The agreement in principle with BP also provides up to $1 billion to settle claims in the five Gulf States between BP and local governments and other public entities. Settlement amounts for individual governments and public entities, including those in Mississippi, have not yet been determined. Discussions are ongoing, and an announcement is expected on or about July 12.
“We remain committed to ensuring that our coast counties and cities are included in any settlement and treated fairly,” added Attorney General Jim Hood. “I am pleased to say we are upholding our promise.” Hood continued, “The size and scope of this settlement is the result of a successful partnership of all the gulf states and our state agencies. Together, we held BP accountable for the damage it caused.”
“We have made significant progress since the BP disaster,” Gov. Bryant said. “Today’s announcement ensures that long lasting recovery will continue.”