CLEARWATER - With a vote of 7-0, Tampa Bay Water’s board of directors accepted $1.25 million July 13 in a settlement and release of claims against BP Oil and related entities for economic damages incurred by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Once approved by a federal judge in Louisiana, who is handling all BP oil spill claims, the $1.25 million settlement will be paid to Tampa Bay Water within 30 days, minus 20 percent for fees and payment of litigation costs.
“It’s difficult to assign a dollar amount to the economic damage caused by the spill,” said Donald Conn, counsel for Tampa Bay Water. “Our claim was based on the agency’s loss of revenue. Tourism decreased in the months following the spill. As result, there was less demand for potable water, and Tampa Bay Water’s sales declined. The justice system has held BP accountable.”
In December 2012, Tampa Bay Water’s board of directors retained the Penton Law Firm, and the firms of Ventura, Ribeiro & Smith and Frank Miranda, P.A., as special counsel concerning the BP oil spill. In January 2013, Tampa Bay Water submitted its claim for economic damages to BP, and filed a lawsuit in federal court in April 2013.
A panel appointed by the federal court to review all claims by state and local governments decided on the full and final settlement of claims on July 2, 2015.
Tampa Bay Water is the largest wholesale water supplier in Florida, providing drinking water to its members, who in turn, supply water to more than 2.3 million residents of the Tampa Bay area. Tampa Bay Water member governments include the cities of New Port Richey, St. Petersburg and Tampa, and the counties of Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas. For more information, please visit tampabaywater.org.