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Jeff Atwater

As Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, I am committed to ensuring that every citizen and every business negatively affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill are made whole. While the stories have dropped from the headlines, I am well aware that real struggles continue, and I am determined to ensure every legitimate claim gets paid and every community is restored.

Even for those of you who have accepted final payment from the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF), I know that does not mean your challenges are over. Many Floridians are facing economic challenges today, that's why I launched Your Money Matter$, a financial education initiative that aims to teach Floridians of all ages how to make the most out of their money, and for small businesses how to strengthen and grow their enterprises.

My Department has been involved from the beginning and understands that oil spill victims are not asking for a handout, only what they are due. When that happens, only then can we declare an end to the oil spill.

Press Releases

March 5, 2014 – Florida Joins lawsuit related to Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill The Florida Department of Environmental Protection, at the direction of Gov. Rick Scott, has joined a multi-state federal lawsuit currently pending in the Eastern District of Louisiana involving the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

March 4, 2014 – BP Fails to get out of compensating oil spill victims Sorry, BP: You’re still going to have to pay damages for the Gulf oil spill. A divided New Orleans appeals court ruled late Monday that the oil giant has to stick to the terms of its $9.2 billion settlement with the spill’s victims.

December 18, 2013 – Ex-BP drilling engineer convicted of obstruction in 2010 oil spill case Kurt Mix was convicted of deleting text messages from his phone to obstruct a federal investigation of the Deepwater Horizon spill.

Most recent developments in the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Florida to receive $3.25B from gulf states' Deepwater Horizon settlement with BP

July 2, 2015 Five years after oil from the Deepwater Horizon disaster tainted the Panhandle's sugar-white beaches, petroleum giant BP agreed to an $18.7 billion settlement with Florida, four other gulf states and the federal government.

Florida's share could be more than $3.25 billion, paid out over 18 years.

Of the amount going to Florida, $2 billion is for the state's economic losses, primarily from tourism and the seafood industry.

For additional details you may read the full article at http://www.tampabay.com/.

Deepwater Horizon claim filing deadline

June 8, 2015 has been established as the deadline to submit a claim in the Economic and Property Damages (“E&PD”) Settlement with BP Exploration & Production Inc. and BP America Production Company (“BP”) related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

If you received a notice, it is because you have been identified as a possible member of the E&PD Settlement Class, or you have previously inquired about the Settlement. The E&PD Settlement Class includes people, businesses, other entities, and properties in the states of Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, and certain counties in Texas and Florida, that were harmed by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill that occurred on April 20, 2010.

What are the payment categories? The settlement provides payments if you had economic loss or property damage because of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. By submitting a claim, you can request a payment in one or more of the following seven categories:

  • Economic Damage
  • Loss of Subsistence
  • Vessel Physical Damage
  • Real Property Sales Damage
  • Vessels of Opportunity Charter Payment
  • Coastal Real Property Damage
  • Wetlands Real Property Damage

Economic Damage payments are available for Individuals and Entities that lost profits or earnings as a result of the Deepwater Horizon Incident. Coastal Real Property payments are available for property that was physically damaged in connection with the Deepwater Horizon Incident. Detailed descriptions of all seven categories are available at the website.

Valid claims are paid once they are approved. There is no limit on the total dollar amount of the E&PD Settlement. All qualified and timely claims will be paid in full. The Settlement also allowed for Seafood Compensation claims, but the deadline for those claims has passed.

How to request payment? You must submit a Claim Form to request a payment. You can get a copy of the various Claim Forms by visiting the website or by calling 1-866-992-6174. Claims can be submitted online or by mail. If you have questions about how to file a claim, you should call the toll-free number for assistance. The claims process can be complex, so if you are eligible to file a claim, you should act now so you may complete your claim before the June 8, 2015 deadline.

SOURCE: United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana

Florida to get $34 million in BP settlement money

November 17, 2014: Florida will receive $34.3 million from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for nine conservation projects designed to help remedy harm and reduce future risk to natural resources affected by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Read more here.

BP tries once more to get out of paying full Gulf Oil Spill penalties

November 17, 2014: A federal judge has yet to determine the full extent of the penalties BP will be required to pay for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, but the oil giant is already trying to reduce the total extent of the fines. Read more here.

BP fails to get out of compensating oil spill victims

March 4, 2014: Sorry, BP: You’re still going to have to pay damages for the Gulf oil spill. A divided New Orleans appeals court ruled late Monday that the oil giant has to stick to the terms of its $9.2 billion settlement with the spill’s victims. Read more here.

Florida joins federal lawsuit against BP for 2010 oil spill

Gov. Rick Scott announced on Wednesday March 5, 2014, that Florida is joining the federal lawsuit filed in Louisiana seeking damages from BP American Production Co., Transocean Ltd. and Anadarko Petroleum Corp., for the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The lawsuit seeks compensation for damage to natural resources unlike the lawsuit for economic damages filed by Attorney General Pam Bondi in 2013.

Escambia County Commissioner Grover C. Robinson IV

said on March 5, 2014 that he welcomed the state's involvement in the suit. Robinson serves as chairman of the Gulf Consortium of 23 counties that will develop a spending plan for federal oil spill restoration money.

Robinson said he wasn't sure which lawsuit Florida was joining but mentioned that Escambia County had voted two years earlier to join a lawsuit involving the spill.

BP loses appeal over spill payouts

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit on March 3, 2014 rejected BP’s argument that a court-appointed claims administrator had misconstrued the terms of a settlement. It ordered BP to pay damages to undeserving businesses claiming losses that had no connection to the oil spill.

Deepwater Horizon Court-Supervised Settlement Program

February 12, 2014 Update: For the Medical Benefits Settlement, the remaining appeals that were pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit were dismissed on February 11, 2014. Therefore, the Effective Date of the Medical Benefits Settlement is February 12, 2014.

The court said in a 2 to 1 ruling, the claims administrator was following the guidelines BP had agreed to in a settlement reached with a wide variety of plaintiffs in 2012.

“The Settlement Agreement contained many compromises. One of them was to provide in only a limited way for connecting the claim to the cause,” the court said. “The claims administrator, parties, and district court can resolve real examples of implausible claims as they resolve other questions that arise in the handling of specific claims.”

Attorney General Pam Bondi Sues BP on Three-Year Anniversary of Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a lawsuit on April 20, 2013, against BP over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the three-year anniversary of the spill. The suit was filed in the Panama City division of the Northern District of Florida. The State of Florida’s lawsuit comes ahead of the three-year statute of limitations under the Oil Pollution Act in order to ensure that the state may recover its economic losses resulting from the oil spill. The named defendants will be BP and Halliburton.

“The State of Florida suffered considerable economic losses as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and BP and Halliburton must be held accountable,” stated Attorney General Pam Bondi.

This lawsuit involves only the economic losses suffered by the State of Florida.