BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Friday, Mississippi will receive its first payment for economic damages resulting from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. And Attorney General Jim Hood is already cautioning lawmakers about spending it.
In a news release Thursday, Hood reminded the Legislature that, despite a significant budget deficit, the BP money should be directed for projects on the Coast. This initial payment – expected Friday and required to be delivered by BP no later than Sunday – is part of a total of $750 million for economic damages that Mississippi will receive over the next 17 years.
"After years of litigation and work to identify the economic damage caused by this catastrophe, we reached an agreement that would help to make our coastal communities whole again," Attorney General Hood said. "However, I am deeply concerned that the state's legislative leaders may use this payment to try to cover up their self-created budget hole."
Hood noted that the Legislature has already earmarked approximately $46 million from the $150 million disbursement. He said Legislative leaders would do a disservice to their coastal constituents if they use that money to fund anything other than areas impacted by the spill.
"Those who created this budget emergency by providing self-serving tax cuts to big business should not use this money to cover up their mess at the expense of our neighbors on the Coast," Attorney General Hood said.
In total, five Gulf Coast states will receive nearly $20 billion from BP as part of the largest environmental settlement in history. Mississippi's share is $2.2 billion.