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Alabama, Florida, Announce Plans For BP Oil Spill Settlement Funds

March 9th, 2016

Two of the states impacted by the 2010 disaster have announced their plans to distribute the BP oil spill settlement funds they expect to receive. Leaders in Florida stated that they will distribute $300 million in BP oil spill settlement funds to small businesses in the state’s Panhandle region. Meanwhile, an Alabama Senate committee voted to reallocate $439 million in settlement monies toward three major highway expansion projects in two Gulf Coast counties.

Details of the BP Oil Spill Settlement Funds

The two states are among the five that are slated to receive BP oil spill settlement funds. Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi are also expected to receive shares of the record-setting $20 billion settlement. The settlement also includes dozens of cities, counties, school districts, and other local government entities in the affected region. A portion of the BP oil spill settlement funds will also go toward paying off more than $5 billion in federal fines for violations of the Clean Water Act.

Florida Panhandle Targeted For BP Oil Spill Settlement Funds

Florida House Reps. Jay Trumbull and Matt Gaetz, along with former House speaker Allan Bense, announced that the BP oil spill settlement funds would be allocated toward economic development projects in several disproportionately affected counties in the state’s Panhandle region. Rep. Trumbull, who represents Panama City and surrounding areas affected by the spill, told local reporters that the money from the BP oil spill settlement funds “needs to go back to the disproportionately affected counties.”

State Awaits BP Oil Spill Settlement Funds

Although officials have announced their plans for the BP oil spill settlement funds, they are still waiting to receive those funds. Rep. Trumbull attempted to ease the fears of Panhandle residents, who had been subjected to rumors that state officials would redirect the funds for other purposes. He told reporters, “There is not an undertone in the Legislature this year or the next year to take $300 million away from Northwest Florida.” He also said that the biggest issue regarding the BP oil spill settlement funds is that “we cannot spend dollars we do not have yet.”

Alabama’s Plans For BP Oil Spill Settlement Funds

A bill in the Alabama Senate would allocate $439 million in BP oil spill settlement funds toward highway expansion project in the state’s coastal counties. The plan would extend Beach Express and Rangeline Road to give drivers easier access to the state’s beaches. The bill would also use $50 million in BP oil spill settlement funds to cover the state’s Strengthen Alabama Homes Fund. The fund would subsidize grants for residential property owners to upgrade their homes and add protections from storm and wind damage.

Sources: Panama City News Herald
WBRC-TV

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