Biloxi Settles With BP For $4.9M

BILOXI, MS (AP) — The city of Biloxi is accepting $4.9 million from BP as part of a group settlement of local government claims for economic losses caused by the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

         Last week, BP and five coastal states announced a deal to provide $18.7 billion in new money to the states. The company said the settlement would bring its full obligations to an estimated $53.8 billion.

         The Deepwater Horizon disaster killed 11 rig workers and spewed millions of gallons of crude.

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         According to multiple media reports, Biloxi officials Tuesday agreed to take the settlement. They expect the money in 30 days.

         "Although we believe Biloxi's total damages from lost taxes are greater than the amount of the settlement, there is no guarantee an extended legal battle will generate a higher number. If we chose to reject the settlement offer, we'd be looking at several more years of litigation without any guarantees. This is a prudent choice considering the alternatives," said Mayor Andrew "FoFo" Gilich.

         Gilich wants the city council to set up a reserve account that can be used to leverage other federal and state money for economic development. It also will be used to ease cash pressures caused by delayed FEMA reimbursements to Biloxi, a city press release said.

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         "This money will allow us to more rapidly respond to develop opportunities," Gilich said. "We must utilize the money wisely to maximize the potential benefits."

         City officials said a separate settlement offer was made to Biloxi Public Schools, but didn't specify how much the school district could be getting.

         Last week, Gov. Phil Bryant said Mississippi will receive $2.2 billion and will use a large portion of that money to help restore the ecological damage caused by the spill.

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