Scott Signs BP Settlement Bill

June 3, 2017

Gov. Rick Scott signed measures Friday that will release BP oil-spill settlement money to eight Northwest Florida counties most impacted by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

“Our beautiful beaches were devastated by the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill,” Scott said in a statement. “While the surrounding communities have worked hard to recover, this funding will allow them to make critical local investments and continue our efforts to market the state.”

State Rep. Jay Trumbull, a Panama City Republican who oversaw the issue in the House, said the money “will help our businesses continue to grow and attract visitors from around the world to our beautiful coast.”

The measures allocate $300 million of $400 million received by the state last year to Bay, Escambia, Franklin, Gulf, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Wakulla and Walton counties through the non-profit organization Triumph Gulf Coast.

Kim Wilmes, president and CEO of the regional economic-development organization Florida’s Great Northwest, said the money will allow the region “to begin building that bright new economic future.”

The bill sets minimums for how much each county will receive and expands the Triumph board from five to seven, to provide more representation from less-populated counties. The eight counties are also slated to get three-fourths of the remainder of the $2 billion the state is expected to receive for damages associated with the BP disaster, which dumped millions of gallons of oil less than 100 miles off the Florida coast.

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