PANAMA CITY — Florida will not join Alabama, Louisiana and more than 800 other plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit against Transocean, the operator of the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico a year ago, causing a massive oil spill, Gov. Rick Scott announced Tuesday.
Instead, the state will file a claim against BP directly, a move the Florida Attorney General’s Office says will be resolved more quickly — and inexpensively for the state.
“It doesn’t make sense for the state to join that lawsuit,” Scott said. “We have a plan to make sure that our state is treated fairly with regard to getting reimbursed by British Petroleum for the damages to our state.”
The decision to miss Wednesday’s deadline to join the suit could leave Florida unable to pursue Transocean or take part in any findings by the court, but does not affect its ability to go after BP for losses, said Corey Maze, deputy attorney general for Alabama, which is coordinating the New Orleans litigation for the Gulf states.
Critics have railed against Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi for not taking legal action against companies responsible for the Deepwater Horizon disaster despite being in office for four months.