Bay County Accepts $15 Million BP Settlement

By: Drew Steele Email
By: Drew Steele Email

It's been three years since the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform exploded, sending hundreds of millions of gallons of oil onto gulf coast beaches. County officials received their first damage claim money about 6-months later.

"We had filed an initial claim and we were paid about two point five million dollars earlier back in 2011" said Bay County Tourist Development Council Executive Director Dan Rowe.

Friday Bay County officials finalized their largest settlement with BP and their last. The county will receive 9.7 million dollars. The TDC is accepting 5.6 million.

"Our claim is rolled up into the bay county claim. But it is for specific economic damages from lost tourism revenue" said Rowe.

The fifteen million dollar total is the largest type settlement of its type in Bay County history.
Bay Vounty commissioners don't have any specific plans for the money, but say it couldn't be coming at a better time.

"We had been exhausting our surpluses the last few years because we expected this to come. We expected ad valorum taxes to turn around. So hopefully we'll just put this back in our funds. The different enterprise funds and the general funds" said Bay County District 5 County Commissioner Mike Thomas.

By accepting the settlement, the county and the TDC cannot file any other losses against BP in connection with the 2010 spill. This settlement has nothing to do with the Restore Act, which is an entirely different process. Bay County stands to receive even more money once that's settled.

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