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Sanibel accepts full settlement in oil spill litigation

By Staff | Jul 14, 2015

The City of Sanibel accepted a full settlement of $460,395 for all claims against BP Exploration & Production as a result of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

“I’m thrilled with this decision. I’m thrilled that Sanibel is fortunate enough to put together an agreement and actually act upon it and look at our losses and file the appropriate paperwork. I am very pleased with the settlement,” Mayor Kevin Ruane said after a special meeting that concluded Tuesday.

The settlement was for government entities, due to businesses having to file their own claims on how the oil spill impacted their revenue.

“This is the amount the council signed off on,” Ruane said. “They will go through this process with many other municipalities in the state of Florida, and in other states. The municipalities will make one joint settlement. Within 60 to 90 days all cities will receive the proceeds.”

Once the 60 to 90 days pass and the check is in the bank, the city will have the opportunity to have discussions with the public. He said the discussions can then be done because the judge asked them to sign a confidentiality agreement that limited them on what they could share directly after the resolution passed.

“We will have the opportunity with much more flexibility after this is all signed to go into much more detail,” Ruane said.

Sanibel’s impact included losses suffered from decreased parking fee revenues, essentially the $3 an hour individuals pay for parking at the beaches.

“Many people throughout the world didn’t realize this, but the actual damage was up in the Panhandle,” Ruane said, adding that many people visiting the island were tourists from overseas who were not aware of the extent of the spill and how far it impacted the waters.

Ruane said the city is responsible for collecting any revenue from parking, while also maintaining the appropriate beaches. The city also is responsible for the type of impact there is on property values.

“Those are the things that we can isolate from this instance,” Ruane said.

The settlement amount, he said, was from information gathered as a result of the revenue lost from the oil spill.

Since the city is responsible for all dollars that come into the City of Sanibel, Ruane said they will continue to make decisions based on what is best for taxpayers.

“We are good stewards of taxpayer dollars. This will be treated the same exact way,” Ruane said.

Follow Meghan @IslanderMeghan on Twitter.