Regional Economic Development in Northwest Florida

On April 20, 2010, approximately 250 miles southeast of Houston in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig exploded, killing 11 crewmen and igniting a fireball seen 35 miles away. By the time the well was capped on July 15, between 4.9 million and 210 million gallons of oil had spilled into the Gulf. Satellite images of the spill showed that 68,000 square miles of ocean, about the size of the state of Oklahoma, were directly impacted. The Congressional Research Service reported that as of December 2012 more than 339 miles of coastline from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle had been affected and were still subject to evaluation and cleanup operations. Florida’s commercial and recreational fisheries, tourism and other industries along the coast from Escambia County to Monroe County were affected by the spill and are still recovering.

On the three-year anniversary of the explosion, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi sued BP and Halliburton Energy Services Inc., seeking lost revenues and punitive damages as a result of the spill. At the time, reports indicated Bondi was seeking more than $5 billion in lost state revenues alone. This case is now beginning to move through…

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