Mississippi is receiving $1.5 billion from a settlement with BP over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. MPB’s Evelina Burnett reports on what final approval of the settlement will mean.
Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality executive director Gary Rikard is executive director of the state Department of Environmental Quality says the judge's OK means some money will start getting paid soon.
“Within 30 days we’ll have some of the natural resource damage money available,” he says. “And then the economic damages are paid within 90 days. And that money of course goes to the legislature, the first payment of $150 million.”
But Rikard says the state won't start seeing the restoration money until about a year from now. So the state is continuing planning, with a focus on three areas: water quality, marine resources and land aquisition, for example, for marsh restoration.
Jill Mastrototaro with the National Wildlife Federation says this funding will be significant in restoring both the coast’s environment and its economy.
"With the settlement, it brings with it the certainty of the dollars and the timing of the dollars to the Mississippi Gulf Coast," she says. "From that standpoint, it's a huge new chapter that we're about to beging here on the long road to restoration."
Along with some early funding, this settlement brings the state’s total compensation from the spill to more than $2 billion.