ST. PETE BEACH (FOX 13) - Thursday, March 20 marks the seven year anniversary of the Deep Water Horizon BP oil spill.
An explosion killed 11 workers and caused the well to spew more than four million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The explosion and spill created an environmental nightmare that threatened Florida’s tourism industry and ecosystems.
Looking back, some directly impacted by the spill say the recovery has not been as bad as they feared. Some even say the money they received may have helped them and the state.
BP paid out billions of dollars in fines, and millions went into Florida’s marketing. Visit Florida, a major marketing hub for the state saw its budget more than double.
The President of Tradewinds Island Resorts, Keith Overton says they took a hit but saw a huge payoff from the settlement money.
“Never would we want to benefit from a situation like that,” Overton said. “But it was very helpful, the way it was handled.”
Marine science has also benefited. USF and its partners have received around $41 million in settlement money, which has provided an enormous amount of data relating to gulf water research.