Mississippi Reaches Landmark Agreement in BP Oil Spill Disaster Case

(JACKSON, Miss.) — Gov. Phil Bryant and Attorney General Jim Hood announced today that the federal court in New Orleans approved a settlement among the Gulf States, United States, and BP totaling approximately $18.7 billion related to claims arising from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. As a result of the settlement, an additional $1.5 billion will come to Mississippi for natural resource damages and civil penalties under the Clean Water Act. These funds will be distributed to the state over the next 17 years and are in addition to $659 million of early funding already received. In all, Mississippi is receiving a total of nearly $2.174 billion in compensation.

Under the settlement, Mississippi will receive approximately $183 million in additional Natural Resource Damage Assessment payments and approximately $582 million in Clean Water Act penalties to be distributed via the RESTORE Act.

“This is the culmination of a years-long effort to secure rightful compensation that will allow for the restoration of our unique ecosystems and our economy on the Gulf Coast,” said Gov. Phil Bryant.

Attorney General Jim Hood added: “Under the terms of this settlement, BP must pay $150 million of the state’s $750 million economic damages recovery to Mississippi within 90 days. My office has worked cooperatively with the Governor’s Office, the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, and other affected state agencies to ensure that BP is held accountable for this disaster. The finalization of this settlement is part of the continuing process of restoring our environment and natural resources, as well as compensating our state and coastal communities.”

“This is a final hurdle bringing us closer to accessing all of the settlement funds for projects and initiatives to restore and enhance our natural resources and our economy. Our agency has worked diligently since the spill response and in the recovery phase to strategically implement projects to help make the Mississippi Gulf Coast better than it’s ever been,” said Gary Rikard, Executive Director, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality.

The $1.5 billion consent decree includes:

• Approximately $183 million in Natural Resource Damage Assessment payments, to be paid over 15 years, which will be used 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 for environmental and economic restoration.
• $750 million in economic damages paid over 17 years to be paid into the Mississippi Budget Contingency Fund, which will be available for appropriation by the Mississippi Legislature.

Breakdown of $659 Million in Early Funding Already Received:

• $112.557 million in Natural Resource Damage Assessment Early Restoration payments;
• $106 million in RESTORE Act payments
• $356 million in National Fish and Wildlife Foundation payments;
• $75 million in response actions/clean-up payments.

More funding information can be found at www.restore.ms.