Business Owner Along Gulf Coast Reacts to BP Settlement

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Panacea, FL-November 16, 2012

The U.S. Government won a multi-billion dollar settlement against British Petroleum this week. But a local business owner says he and others like him are still waiting for relief.

Crum's Mini Mall sits along the Coastal Highway in Panacea. It is a staple for fishermen in need of rods, bait or tackle. But like many shops along the Gulf Coast it's still reeling from the effects of the 2010 B.P. Oil Spill.

"That's the problem we are having today. We can't recover. We have the pressure from the down-turned economy with an extra two, three, four hundred percent participants and we are still trying to overcome that over harvested area," says Ronald Crum , owner of Crum's Mini Mall.

The U.S. Government won a $4.5 billion dollar settlement against B.P. But that settlement does not include any of the billions of dollars in claims from fishermen and business owners. It's left many of them feeling frustrated.

Fishermen and business owners like Crum say they're still waiting on money from the RESTORE Act which goes towards restoration efforts along the coast. Wakulla could potentially see anywheres between $10-$20 million dollars from the RESTORE Act. But when the County will see that money is unclear.

Crum says when the money does come, he hopes it's spent on revitalizing the oyster beds that are critical to the survival of coastal communities like Wakulla.

"Our destiny is in our hands. If this money comes, we don't know yet, if we use the money wisely, the people will have jobs," says Crum.

As for the money awarded to the U.S. Goverment, that settlement must still be approved by a federal judge.

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