Saturday, April 14, 2012

Florida AG objects to BP oil spill settlement|

beach clean-up in Pensacola, FL in 2010
BP oil spill settlement proposal draws objections from Florida attorney general |
by Mark Schleifstein, The times-Picayune
"Florida's attorney general on Friday asked the federal judge overseeing a proposed settlement between private claimants and BP over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill to delay preliminary approval of the settlement until her state and other parties have a "meaningful opportunity for review and comment." In a statement filed in New Orleans with U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier, Florida Attorney General Pamela Bondi said it appears the settlement includes businesses and residents only in Florida's Panhandle and west coast."

The sparse information released about the settlement by the Plaintiffs Steering Committee, which represents private claimants in the negotiations with BP, limits the settlement to four southeastern counties of Texas and the Panhandle and west coast of Florida and adjacent Gulf waters, but includes the entire states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, she said, referring to a question-and-answer memo released by the lawyers.

"This document offers no rationale as to why anyone in the entire states of Louisiana, Mississippi or Alabama can claim economic damages, but Floridians and their businesses are limited to specific regions," she said.

Bondi also objected to a provision in Barbier's order setting up a transition process while the settlement negotiations are completed because it ends interim payments to individual claimants. the provision violates the Oil Pollution Act, the Florida Attorney General said.
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