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Mississippi gets $16 million from BP for tourism

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour announced Friday that BP will give the state a $16 million grant
  • Funds will be used to help with recovery from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010
  • A written agreement is still pending, a statement from the governor's office said
  • BP's says its financial commitment to Mississippi tourism stands at $34 million

(CNN) -- Mississippi's governor announced Friday that the state will get a multimillion-dollar grant from BP to help recover from economic damage caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

"BP's $16 million grant to promote tourism on the Mississippi Coast will assist coastal tourism leaders in recapturing visitation and tourism revenues that were negatively impacted during 2010," Gov. Haley Barbour said in a statement.

State officials and BP have agreed that funds from the grant will be spent under the oversight of the Mississippi Coast Regional Tourism Partnership, and will be governed by a regional board of directors with expertise in the tourism industry in Jackson, Harrison and Hancock counties, state officials said.

"BP is very pleased to be working cooperatively with Governor Barbour and the state on this road from response to restoration," said Luke Keller, BP America's executive vice president for Gulf Coast restoration.

A written agreement signed by the state and BP is still pending, according to the statement.

"The agreement we will sign is a further example of BP's commitment to doing what is in the best interest of the state and the people of Mississippi," Keller said.

On Monday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced that the Northwest Florida Tourism Council will receive a $30 million grant to help the area's tourism industry rebound from the Deepwater Horizon spill.

BP says its financial commitment to the restoration of Mississippi tourism now stands at $34 million.

Keller said Florida has received $82 million for tourism and seafood testing and marketing since the April 20, 2010, spill, which was caused by an explosion and fire on the offshore rig that killed 11 people.