Florida Governor Rick Scott yesterday entered into the litigation currently pending in federal court in the Eastern District of Louisiana involving the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The suit against BP and other responsible parties was filed yesterday by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in Panama City.
“Today’s filing is a long awaited step in holding BP responsible for the environmental damages created by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill” said Governor Scott. “After many years of unsuccessfully trying to reach a settlement, the case has come to a point where Florida must join the suit in order to protect our most valuable natural resource.”
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill occurred on April 20, 2010, and caused significant impacts to Florida’s natural resources and prevented citizens and visitors from enjoying those resources. The Department and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission represent the State on the Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustee Council.
“I am proud of the work that is being done to restore Florida’s Gulf Coast and provide additional recreational and environmental opportunities to offset the losses suffered as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill” said DEP Secretary Herschel T. Vinyard Jr. “We will now focus on holding the responsible parties accountable for the damages caused.”
“Gulf coast fisheries and wildlife resources are important to Florida’s economy and quality of life”, said Nick Wiley, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Executive Director. “Joining the lawsuit will ensure these resources and the interests of people who depend on them are fully considered and fairly compensated.”
The litigation Florida filed yesterday is separate from the suit filed by the Attorney General’s Office last year. The Attorney General’s Office suit deals with economic losses Florida suffered as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Today’s filing relates to environmental damages and lost use of natural resources the state suffered as a result of the oil spill.