Deepwater Horizon Spill Cost to Florida at $12 Million -- and Rising
Around the State
With at least $12 million in losses reported so far, the state hopes by next week to see the first hard numbers on the impact to Florida of last year’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
But what are expected to be key figures in any potential lawsuit against the petroleum giant BP remain a couple of months off.
Members of the Revenue Estimating Conference pushed off until Thursday estimating totals on how much the state and local governments along the Gulf of Mexico lost in terms of hotel taxes, gas tax, boat registration, and hunting and fishing licenses, saying more calculations are needed.
“There are a couple of things we're close to moving off the list that we’ve looked at two or three times,” said Amy Baker, Florida’s chief economist. “To me, that’s good, because we’re starting to concentrate on the things that are more likely to have an impact.”
The big number, sales tax, is expected by the end of the year, Baker said. The University of Florida is studying those numbers.
What the final number may be for Florida remains unknown.
BP, which has spent about $25 billion on damage control, has estimated the cost for the entire recovery, along with claims and fines, could reach $42 billion.
The company has paid compensation claims of approximately $7 billion, out of a $20 billlion fund the government required it to set up. The money, administered by the federal government, has been going to marine, hotel and tourism interests along the Gulf.
Florida’s focus is on government impacts. Currently, the state has reported $12 million combined in impacts from the spill, from areas such as the Escambia County School Board, $363,282; Mid Bay Bridge Authority in Okaloosa County, $407,094; the Bay Medical Center, $1.4 million; and Walton County, $2.4 million.
Last week, Florida’s attorney general's office began to accept bid proposals from legal professionals to serve as co-counsel if the state decides to take the case to court.
The state has until April 2013 to file a lawsuit. Florida officials must seek financial claims against BP under the Oil Pollution Act -- and those claims must be rejected -- before a lawsuit can be brought forward.
BP leased the oil-drilling platform that exploded in April 20, 2010, killing 11 workers.
In April of this year, Gov. Rick Scott and the attorney general's office agreed that a claim would be preferable to joining a multistate lawsuit filed in New Orleans against Transocean Ltd., the owners of the Deepwater Horizon rig.
A federal joint task force of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement and the U.S. Coast Guard has concluded that by taking construction shortcuts, BP, Transocean and Halliburton, which oversaw cementing for the base of the 18,000-foot-deep well, shared in the blame for the fatal explosion.
Reach Jim Turner at email@example.com or at (850) 727-0859 or (772) 215-9889.