But there’s already jockeying as lawmakers consider spending $750 million in economic damages that oil giant BP has pledged to pay Mississippi over 12 years.
The money is part of nearly $2.2 billion from BP that’s supposed to be spent on Mississippi projects. But the state will have less control over the $1.42 billion that’s allotted for environmental restoration and cleanup. State government could spend the economic damages, meant to make up for decreased tax collections following lost economic activity, on pretty much anything.
“This is the Legislature’s money,” said Andrew Whitehurst of the Gulf Restoration Network. His group says it hopes Mississippi will spend on infrastructure projects that improve water quality.