Visit Baton Rouge accepts final $65K settlement from BP over 2010 oil spill

    The Visit Baton Rouge board of directors at a special meeting this morning formally accepted a $65,000 payment from BP for damages from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill and released all claims against the company.

    Visit Baton Rouge has already received more than $1.4 million in other funds from BP in the five years since the spill, but today’s meeting marked the last of the organization’s dealings with the company, which last week reached a historic $18.7 billion settlement with the U.S. government and five Gulf Coast states.

    Today’s special meeting was not called due to last week’s settlement, but because a deadline was nearing on acceptance of a damages claim settlement with BP filed at the end of 2011.

    “This is pure profit to us, the fees for the lawyer and the fees for the accountant will come strictly out of the settlement,” said Chuck Elkins, attorney for Visit Baton Rouge.

    Elkins said Visit Baton Rouge’s damage claim was evaluated against all other claims from the states impacted by the oil spill. Visit Baton Rouge was originally offered $50,000, but asked for more money from the neutral body evaluating the claims and the parties eventually settled on  $65,000.

    “As a tourism industry, we had a real loss, it was difficult to quantify,” Elkins said of the claim filed nearly four years ago.

    VIsit Baton Rouge will take away $45,000 in general funding from the settlement, after paying attorney and accountant fees.

    “I think the effect that the spill had on Baton Rouge affected us in different ways,” said Paul Arrigo, president and CEO of Visit Baton Rouge. “There was obviously some negativity associated with the oil spill via corporate or leisure travel.”

    —Deanna Narveson

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