Florida joins lawsuit against BP for oil-spill eco-disaster

HERALD STAFF REPORTMarch 6, 2014 

PANAMA CITY -- Gov. Rick Scott and the state of Florida have joined the multi-state federal litigation now pending in the Eastern District of Louisiana involving the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The suit against BP and others was filed Wednesday by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in Panama City. The complaint names BP, Anadarko and Transocean as defendants responsible for the environmental harm caused by the oil spill.

"Today's action is another step in our efforts to hold the parties related to the oil spill accountable for the environmental harm caused by the Deepwater Horizon tragedy," said the governor in a press release. "Our main priority is to help the families of Florida's Panhandle recover, and we will continue our work to ensure that this goal is reached."

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill occurred April 20, 2010, and caused significant harm to Florida's natural resources and prevented citizens and visitors from enjoying those resources. The Department of Environmental Protection 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 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 Vinyard Jr. "We will now focus on holding the responsible parties accountable for the oil spill."

"Joining the lawsuit is an important step toward preserving and restoring Florida's greatest resource for the future," said Nick Wiley, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission executive director. "We will make every effort possible to ensure Florida is fully restored."

The case Florida filed is separate from the suit filed by the Attorney General's Office last year, which deals with economic losses Florida suffered as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The latest filing seeks to hold defendants accountable for injuries to the environment the state suffered as a result of the oil spill.

Information: deepwaterhorizonflorida.com.

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