Hillsborough County Aviation Authority sues BP over oil spill
TAMPA - The Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, which in January sought $28?million from BP for lost business revenue resulting from the April 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, is suing BP in federal court for damages to be determined at trial. The aviation authority, which oversees Tampa International Airport and three general aviation airfields, has not received funds from its claim earlier this year. The authority is one of 83 plaintiffs that have filed lawsuits against BP Exploration & Production Inc. in the U.S. District Court, Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division. Other plaintiffs include the cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Gulfport and Indian Rocks Beach; Hillsborough and Pinellas counties; and various Hooters restaurants and other businesses.“The lawsuit will not cost the aviation authority any funds to pursue,” spokeswoman Janet Zink said. It was filed Monday to meet a legal deadline. BP did not respond to a request for comment. On Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson told Gov. Rick Scott in an email he is concerned the Florida Senate is considering legislation to supersede the authority of eight Florida Panhandle counties to receive 80 percent of federal Clean Water Act fines paid by BP and other parties. The counties are Bay, Escambia, Franklin, Gulf, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Wakulla and Walton. “I can tell you it was the intent of Congress to send these fines directly to the places along the Gulf of Mexico where they’re needed the most,” Nelson wrote. The Florida Democrat said he expected the governor, who he thought might share reservations about the possible legislation, to veto it if the Legislature passed it.