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BP sends $1.9 million to oil-struck Escambia County

Published:   |   Updated: March 21, 2013 at 07:41 AM

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Finally, some financial relief has arrived in Escambia County.

The county hit the hardest by the ongoing oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico had been waiting for days for a check it was told was coming from BP. A wire transfer of $1.9 million arrived today.

Escambia and other counties in the Florida Panhandle have been complaining for weeks about a claims process that took an eternity to figure out, and then a long time to receive reimbursement.

"We're committed to doing better,'' said Ray Dempsey, a spokesman for the oil company. "We're definitely working really hard to ensure that all of the claims that were outstanding have been paid.''
Santa Rosa County also recently received a check for $104,000.

In addition, Dempsey said, Gulf County has gotten a check for $45,000 and Okaloosa County has received payment of a half-million dollars.

Some Panhandle officials have said that BP should create upfront money for counties that will be dealing with costs from the oil catastrophe the rest of the year, if not longer.

"That's not something that BP can commit to'' as the transition is made to a trust fund that deals with claims, Dempsey said. "It could be done,'' he added.

Reporter Rob Shaw can be reached at (813) 259-7999.

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