Year in Review: BP dollars come to county

Published: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 at 09:53 AM.

Three years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill soiled the Gulf of Mexico and left lasting impacts not fully understood some of the money from BP fines trickled into Gulf County.

None of the dollars traveled through the RESTORE Act, federal legislation aimed at distributing monies to impacted states.

The county’s RESTORE Committee was well ahead of the game in considering projects to be funded, when and if funding actually arrived, but still faced examination of projects costing more than $60 million without a clue how much the county could receive under RESTORE.

Other forms paid off.

The city of Port St. Joe and the Gulf County School Board each settled with BP on individual lawsuits – the city received nearly $600,000 – but the Board of County Commissioners declined an offer from BP and is currently litigating against BP.

Port St. Joe city commissioners intend to conduct a public workshop to consider how to spend its funds, with $10,000 already donated to the Port of Port St. Joe.

Through the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA), the county received several million dollars for projects including construction of a fishing pier at WindMark Beach and improvements to boat ramps at Frank Pate Park, Highland View and Indian Pass.

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