PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Leaders of Florida's 23 Gulf Coast counties say they want to stick together and fight for their share of a potential $5 billion to $20 billion windfall from fines levied against BP and other companies involved in the massive 2010 oil spill.
The group held a preliminary meeting about the plan on Thursday.
Federal officials and the companies are mired in litigation and negotiations to determine the amount of fines for violations of the Clean Water Act. The fine, based on the size of the spill and the extent of each company's negligence, could bring hundreds of millions to individual Florida counties.
The Florida Association of Counties hopes to organize the affected counties into a consortium that will determine how the money is divided and spent.