County declines BP offer

Published: Thursday, April 18, 2013 at 09:19 AM.

With the third-year anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill approaching, the Board of County Commissioners met in special emergency session Tuesday morning to hear the latest offer from BP to settle claims against the oil giant from the county and Gulf County Tourist Development Council.

Commissioners politely but firmly declined.

Though only one component of the proposed settlement – that for TDC losses – was made public, commissioners decided to press ahead on potential litigation after BP provided a lump sum proposal to settle county and TDC claims.

“They kind of put you in a box,” said Drake Martin with the law firm handling the TDC’s claim. “All or nothing. That is a change in policy for BP.”

Martin added that for the county to press its claim, commissioners may want to consider accepting the TDC settlement offer if the BOCC was provided an opportunity to accept it without accepting a settlement on the county’s claim.

The clock is ticking.

By Thursday, county attorney Jeremy Novak said, the statute of limitations on any claim will be become a factor in litigation.

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