Pascagoula, Gautier accept BP settlements

Pascagoula, Gautier accept BP settlements
(Photo Source: WLOX)

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Two more coast cities have accepted settlement offers from BP for economic losses resulting from the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. The City of Pascagoula announced Thursday it will receive $2,055,663, while Gautier leaders say they have agreed to a payment of $1,726,620.

"The settlement will be a big help to the City, but it in no way compensates the community for all that it went through," said Pascagoula Mayor Jim Blevins.  "However, we are looking forward to closing this chapter of our town's history and opening a new one."

"Although our legal team at Dogan & Wilkinson PLLC demonstrated that Gautier's total
damages from lost taxes are greater than the amount of the settlement, we agree with our sister cities that there is no guarantee an extended legal battle will generate a higher number," Mayor Gollott said.

Once all the paperwork is finalized, the payments will be made within 30 days. There are no stipulations on how the settlement money should be used, and city leaders will consider plans once the money is in hand.

"The [Gautier] Council will determine how to best leverage this reimbursement of lost revenues for future growth.

"I will encourage [Gautier City] Council to use the funds for capital expenses and public safety affected by the oil spill," Mayor Gollott said. "It's been well-publicized that Gautier implemented short-term austerity measures for its general operations starting in 2011. So, I expect that Council will examine non-recurring capital costs and how to use these recovered funds in the best interest of citizens."

In addition to the money the cities will receive, the Pascagoula-Gautier School District will receive a total of $1 million from BP.

These municipal level payments are part of an $18.7 billion settlement of civil claims filed against BP. Governor Phil Bryant recently announced that Mississippi will receive a total of $2.2 billion and will use a large portion of that money to help restore the ecological damage incurred.

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