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BP oil spill could net Manatee County as much as $19 million

MANATEE — Manatee County will get between $4.7 million and $19 million from fines levied as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, officials said Wednesday.

“It’s good news, and it’ll come directly to you,” John Wayne Smith, governmental consultant to the Florida Association of Counties, told county commissioners during a briefing.

More millions stemming from the 2010 BP oil disaster will be coming to geographically larger entities, such as the Tampa Bay Estuary program and to a consortium that is not yet formed, to be comprised of representatives of all Florida coastal counties affected by the spill, he said.

Florida counties that actually saw oil on their beaches will get more money than those like Manatee, which experienced tourism losses but whose beaches remained pristine, Smith said.

It’s important for Florida to quickly form a consortium in order to snare money coming through the federal government from BP, the company responsible for the largest offshore oil spill in the nation’s history, said Doug Darling, also representing the association of counties.

“We’re a little bit behind the power curve,” when it comes to influencing what will happen, Darling said, adding that such a consortium should be formed by Oct. 1.

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7031. Follow her at Twitter@Sarawrites.com

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