THE OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S ROLE REGARDING THE DEEPWATER HORIZON OIL SPILL
As it has done since immediately after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, the Florida Attorney General’s Office continues to play many key roles on behalf of the State of Florida and in the public interest. These roles include:
- Facilitating, where possible, the individual and business claim processes
- Working within state government to prepare the State of Florida's economic loss claims
- Advising the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on the State of Florida’s environmental and natural resource damage claims
- Informing local governments, as requested, about the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and related laws
The Office also continues to work closely with the U.S. Department of Justice and the other affected Gulf Coast states on oil spill-related issues of common interest.
Individual and Business Claims
The Attorney General’s Office represents the public interest and has advocated throughout the aftermath of the oil spill for meaningful improvements to the various individual and business claim processes, including the Court-Supervised Settlement Program (“CSSP”), the now-closed Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF), and the BP Claims Program.
Additionally, the Attorney General’s Office has trained its consumer hotline analysts to collect specific information from claimants who express concerns with the claims processes. In the event of a demonstrated economic hardship, our office will review the information provided and follow-up with the appropriate claims program, as necessary. If particular patterns or anomalies in a claims process are detected, our attorneys will contact the claims administrator in an effort to address any concerns.
State Government Economic Loss Claims
The Attorney General’s Office filed a lawsuit against BP and Halliburton in the Northern District of Florida on April 20, 2013 to recover damages for the State of Florida’s economic losses due to the oil spill. That lawsuit is now part of the ongoing Multidistrict Litigation case in New Orleans before Judge Barbier (MDL 2179) but any trial on the State's economic loss claims will take place within Florida.
Environmental and Natural Resource Damages
The Attorney General’s Office plays an important role in advising the State of Florida’s natural resource trustees, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, concerning the State’s environmental and natural resource damage claims. The trustees filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of Florida on March 5, 2014. That lawsuit is now part of the ongoing Multidistrict Litigation case in New Orleans before Judge Barbier. Please review the NOAA website for further information on the natural resource damage assessment and early restoration projects.
Local Government Claims
While it is not within the Office’s purview to represent local governments in the pursuit of their own claims, the Attorney General’s Office continues to work with the Florida Association of Counties and the Florida League of Cities, as requested, to ensure that local governments are properly informed of their rights under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 and related laws.