Mississippi reaches huge settlement with BP - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Mississippi reaches huge settlement with BP

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant and Attorney General Jim Hood held a news conference in Biloxi Thursday morning to announce Mississippi's share of a $18.7 billion settlement with BP over the 2010 Gulf oil spill. (Photo source: WLOX) Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant and Attorney General Jim Hood held a news conference in Biloxi Thursday morning to announce Mississippi's share of a $18.7 billion settlement with BP over the 2010 Gulf oil spill. (Photo source: WLOX)
Mississippi's first payment of $150 million is scheduled for January 2016. (Photo source: WLOX) Mississippi's first payment of $150 million is scheduled for January 2016. (Photo source: WLOX)
Approximately $183 million in Natural Resource Damage Assessment payments, to be paid over 15 years, which will be used primarily for environmental restoration. (Photo source: WLOX) Approximately $183 million in Natural Resource Damage Assessment payments, to be paid over 15 years, which will be used primarily for environmental restoration. (Photo source: WLOX)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

The announcement of the BP settlement was quick and to the point. And the numbers were stunning coming from Governor Phil Bryant.  "Combined with the $659 million in early funding, our state is receiving a total of nearly $2.2 billion in compensation for the Deepwater Horizon disaster," Bryant said.

What will the money be used for?  The governor had an answer.  "It can be used for environmental projects, research, economic development projects and others."

Negotiations with BP have been underway since 2012, but reached a fever pitch earlier this year, according to state attorney general Jim Hood.  "We spent at least every day, eight hours a day at least in a negotiation period of at least two months and so it's taken quite a bit of time to get this on paper and get this agreement in kind," Hood explained.

Most of the settlement will go into the state's general fund, with the legislature in charge of doling it out.  So what can be done to ensure the money is spent here? Bryant also had an answer for that.  "I feel quite certain that your coast lawmaker delegation is going to make sure that that money, all of it or as much as possible be appropriated to the gulf coast. It should be in my opinion," Bryant said.

For many local officials, including those who work at the Department of Marine Resources, knowing that the vast majority of the $2.2 billion is going to be used to restore the environment, and that's good news.

Jamie Miller is the executive director of the Department of Marine Resources.  "We've had a great partnership with the governor obviously, and with the DEQ so now it's time to go to work. It's time put those plans in action and go do some of these large scale restoration projects that we've been putting on paper," Miller explained.

No more paper, but real money to help solve real problems caused by the spill.

BP will make the first payment of $150 million to the state in January of next year. That will be followed by payments of $40 million a year from 2019 until 2033.

Copyright 2015 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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