Compensating the people and communities affected
Six years ago, BP made a commitment to help the people of the Gulf Coast recover from the Deepwater Horizon accident. Today, it is abundantly clear, based on data from BP, government agencies and numerous credible third-party sources, that BP has kept that commitment. BP's Gulf Coast economic-recovery effort has focused on paying all claims and supporting two of the region’s most important industries: tourism and seafood. Through July 2015, BP spent more than $29 billion on response, cleanup, early restoration and claims payments. In addition, the settlement approved in April 2016 includes a total of $4.9 billion to be paid over 18 years to settle economic and other claims made by the five Gulf Coast states, and up to $1 billion to resolve claims made by more than 400 local government entities. BP has accepted releases received from the vast majority of local government entities, and payments required under those releases were made during the third quarter of 2015. BP has now provisioned over $61 billion relating to the spill, including response, cleanup, economic claims, government payments, settlements and restoration.
The Gulf tourism industry quickly rebounded and now is stronger than ever. Numerous visitor, revenue and occupancy records were broken repeatedly between 2011 and 2014:
- Alabama: Taxable lodging revenue in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach set records in each of these last four years. (Smith Travel Research)
- Florida: The number of tourists visiting Florida set records from 2011-2014, and revenue per available room for Panhandle counties was 41 percent higher in 2014 than in 2009. (VISIT Florida; Smith Travel Research)
- Louisiana: Tourists spent more money in New Orleans in 2013 ($6.5 billion) than in any other year in recorded history, breaking previous records set in 2012 and 2011. (The University of New Orleans Hospitality Research Center)
- Mississippi: Hotel sales along coastal counties were 24 percent higher in 2014 than in 2009. (Mississippi Dept. of Revenue)
BP has supported Gulf Coast tourism in several ways, including:
- Providing $179 million to Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi for state-led tourism campaigns.
- Allocating another $57 million for Gulf Coast nonprofit groups and government entities to promote the tourism and seafood industries, an effort that was part of the settlement agreement with the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee.
- Funding an aggressive advertising campaign that promoted tourism across the entire Gulf Coast in 2011 and 2012.
Seafood industry recovery
Data from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) show that post-spill fish populations in the Gulf are robust, and that commercial seafood landings have recovered and are generally consistent with pre-spill trends. Recreational fishing harvests generally have been above pre-spill levels. In addition, abundant amounts of government data since the spill show that Gulf seafood is safe to consume.
- BP has supported the seafood industry by providing $74 million for state-led marketing and testing programs.
- BP gave $48.5 million to Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi to develop programs that promote Gulf seafood.
- BP also gave those states $25.5 million for seafood-testing programs.
- Gulf seafood is among the most rigorously tested types of seafood, and test results show no evidence of contamination from oil or dispersants that would pose a threat to human health.
- Since May 2010, levels of oil contamination residues in seafood have consistently tested 100 to 1,000 times lower than safety thresholds established by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- NOAA and the FDA found every sample tested to be far below the FDA’s safety threshold for dispersant compounds, with more than 99 percent of the samples showing no detectable residue.
Future of the Gulf Fund
In addition to paying more than $14 billion in claims, advances and settlements, BP has supported Gulf communities through other programs, including the Future of the Gulf Fund. In 2010, BP established a $100 million fund through the Baton Rouge Area Foundation to support unemployed rig workers experiencing economic hardship because of the federal government’s ban on deepwater drilling. After fewer than 2,000 individuals applied, under an agreement with BP, the foundation decided to grant the remaining $82 million to community-based organizations through its Future of the Gulf Fund. This supported coastal restoration and sustainability, workforce training, social services and disaster relief.
Fast facts: Claims
- BP began compensating Gulf Coast residents, business owners and others with damage claims within weeks of the accident. Through July 2015, BP paid more than $14 billion in claims, advances and settlements.
- Individuals and businesses received more than $12.5 billion through various claims processes. Government entities received about $1.5 billion for claims, advances and settlements.
- BP has now provisioned over $61 billion relating to the spill, including response, cleanup, economic claims, government payments, settlements and restoration.