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Pam Bondi Wants More Floridians Included in BP Settlement

April 14, 2012 - 6:00pm

Attorney General Pam Bondi wants a federal judge to delay the recently announced BP settlement because she says it doesn't give full compensation to Floridians.

Bondi has filed a statement of interest asking the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana, to review the pending $9.6 million settlement in the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

I am greatly concerned that we lack substantial information about the pending settlement that could have significant ramifications for Floridians and could also, among other things, eliminate short-term, interim damage claims, Bondi stated in a release on Friday.

On March 2, Judge Carl J. Barbier of the Federal District Court in New Orleans issued an order to award victims of the BP oil spill $7.8 billion in damages.
The settlement, reached on the eve of a trial, was directed for those affected by the oil spill created in the aftermath of the deadly Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion on April 20, 2010.

The settlement didnt cover the legal challenge mounted by the federal government or additional lawsuits that have been filed by the Gulf Coast states.

Bondi stated that because the settlement is only for those immediately on the Panhandle and along the west coast, thousands of Florida individual and business claims would not be covered by the settlements terms and may be left without any recourse. She noted that BP and the Gulf Coast Claims Facility have paid claims from almost every county in Florida.

Also, she noted that the courts preliminary approval of the proposed settlement would apparently result in the immediate discontinuation of the interim claims process, despite the fact that the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 requires such a process.

This could significantly harm those individuals and businesses that have sought and received interim payments but decided not to submit final claims, perhaps due to their concerns over the spills unknown long-term effects, a release from the attorney generals office stated.

View the statement here.

Reach Jim Turner at jturner@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 215-9889.

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