/$150M BP settlement check expected this weekend

$150M BP settlement check expected this weekend

In March, lawmakers allocated $41 million of the check to projects in South Mississippi for fiscal year 2017. The state’s $109 million remaining in settlement for the Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon oil spillage of 2010 is not yet clear. Several state leaders, including Governor Phil Bryant, and Lt. Governor. Tate Reeves and Phil Bryant expressed their desire for the money to remain in south Mississippi. Bryant met with several Coast legislators to discuss possible spending options for the BP funds, just two weeks ago. “The governor is very committed in making sure that money stays at the Coast,” stated Sen. Sean Tindell (R-Gulfport), one of those who met Bryant. “The Senate leadership is unanimous in their belief that the Gulf Coast should receive the bulk of the money. Bryant stated that he would be open to calling a special session to decide how the money should be spent. Clay Chandler, Bryant’s spokesperson, stated that the governor was considering calling a special session to deal with the BP funds in June. Bryant can call a special session at any time to address the BP money, or it could be dealt with in the regular 2017 legislative sessions. After a 2010 oil leak that pumped more than 130,000,000 gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, BP settled a case with Mississippi and other Gulf States in 2015. This settlement was made after months of job losses and revenue reductions along the Gulf Coast. The settlement granted Mississippi $1.5 billion over a period of 17 years. This month’s $150m payment is the first to be paid. The settlement payments will be spread over a 17-year period. The Legislature allocated $41 million from this $150 million check in March to the fiscal year 2017. All of this money will be used to fund south Mississippi projects, including a diabetes clinic, Pascagoula Redevelopment Authority and general college scholarships. It also funds Pearl River Community College’s purchase of land in Hancock County. Many Coast lawmakers introduced legislation in the past session that would have made it clear how the money could go. The bills relating to the BP money weren’t passed. This week, Attorney General Jim Hood stated that he wanted the funds to be kept on the Coast. He also expressed concern about the possibility of the money being used to plug budget holes next year. Hood stated in a press release that “After years and litigation, we came to an agreement that would allow us to rebuild our coastal communities.” “However I am deeply concerned about the state’s legislative leadership may use this payment to cover their own self-created deficit budget hole.” The check was handled by the Attorney General’s Office. They will then send the check to Treasurer Lynn Fitch, who will place it in the state’s Budget Contingency Fund. Tindell stated that Katrina was not the only thing that hit us, but also the BP oil spillage and the great recession. It had a significant impact because it combined all three, especially considering it was compressed in five to six years. He said that things are picking up in the state and that a process to ensure we only spend money on things that will return us money could be beneficial for the entire state. To support this important work, you can make a regular donation to our Spring Member Drive today. Our reporters give a human face to policy’s impact on everyday Mississippians by listening more closely and understanding their communities. To ensure that our work is aligned with the priorities and needs of all Mississippians, we are listening to you. Click the button below to let us know what you think.