Mayor Tim Kant announced this week the city of Fairhope will receive $1.8 million from a settlement with BP related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. After paying attorneys’ fees to Mobile-based law firm Cunningham Bounds, the city will receive $1.35 million of the settlement.
Kant said the money will be placed into a savings account until the Fairhope City Council decides where to use it. Kant claims the city lost utilities revenue during the oil spill, and the $1.35 million could be put into the city’s utility fund if the City Council approves it.
In 2013, the city used $3 million from the city’s utilities fund to settle a $8.75 million lawsuit brought by a land developer whose family had attempted to build a retail mall on the “Dyas Trangle” at the north gateway of the city. After periodic litigation that lasted more than 40 years, Kant and the City Council agreed to the buy the 108-acre property using the utility fund and a $5.75 million general obligation loan from Compass Bank.
Kant is also a member of the Alabama Gulf Coast Recovery Council, one of a handful of elected officials who will be tasked with delegating some $600 million worth of economic development and environmental recovery projects funded by a settlement with BP regulated by the RESTORE Act.
“We are glad it is over,” Kant said on Wednesday. “We think it is a fair settlement.”
The city approved the settlement at its July 13 council meeting, but officials said they were under a confidentiality agreement and could not release the amount at the time. Kant said the confidentiality agreement was lifted by U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier earlier this week. The city expects to receive a check by September.
Gabriel Tynes contributed to this report.