Tampa Bay area nabs $200 million or 10 percent of claims from BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill so far
Wake up and good morning. Tampa Bay was never close to the epicenter of last year's BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but the metro area and especially Pinellas County residents and businesses have received good-sized payouts in claims from the economic fallout. New data from the Gulf Coast Claims Facility show a 6-county area from Citrus in the north to Manatee in the south received more than $200 million in claims payouts from BP. That's about 10 percent of the $2 billion paid in claims as of last Wednesday. (AP photo.)
Some context: The claims data come day sbefore the Obama administration on Friday said it would sell leases for offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico for the first time since last year's oil spill and subsequent six-month drilling ban. Here's a related story from the Wall Street Journal.
Here's the breakdown by county:
* Pinellas: 11,525 claims, $119.5 million paid out.
* Hillsborough: 4,307 claims, $42.1 million paid out.
* Manatee: 1,183 claims, $16.6 million paid out.
* Pasco: 1,155 claims, $15.9 million paid out.
* Citrus: 345 claims, $7 million paid out.
* Hernando: 315 claims, $5.5 million paid out.
Just because there was no oil spill washed up on area beaches, it does not mean there was no business lost. Tourism officials say their industry suffered from plenty of canceled vacation plans despite the fact the region is about 400 miles from the spill site.
Of course, these are small potatoes compared to the payouts in counties on the Florida Panhandle that bore the brunt of the spill in this state. Combined, Okaloosa County and Bay counties, for example, received more than $900 million in claims paid out.
-- Robert Trigaux, Business Columnist, St. Petersburg Times