Charlie Crist: Florida Should Sue BP for Lost Taxes

GULFPORT (2011-4-12) -

So far, Gov. Rick Scott has balked at suing BP because of last year's oil spill in the Gulf. But today, his predecessor said the state should join the lawsuit. Former Gov. Charlie Crist says Florida should sue the oil giant for damages and lost tax revenue.

Gov. Scott has said he'd prefer to negotiate with BP, rather than sue for damages and lost tax revenue due to the 2010 oil spill. A judge in Louisiana has set next Wednesday - the one-year anniversary of the well blowout - as the deadline for joining a lawsuit other states are contemplating. That's a course of action endorsed by former Gov. Crist.

Crist, speaking before a class at Stetson Law School in Gulfport, and said Florida should get its "fair share of the $20 billion set aside to compensate victims of the oil spill.

"Living in the Panhandle for about two months last spring and the early part of the summer," Crist says, I can tell you that the impact - while not direct - was certainly indirect in terms of financial aspects of it, related to tourism, restaurants and so many other things, but also the state. Unless people are visiting Florida, those revenues are down. So I think a claim is absolutely appropriate."

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has counseled against joining the lawsuit against BP, saying it could jeopardize the state's claims for reimbursement.

To hear Gov. Crist's entire speech at Stetson, click on the "Full Audio" icon below.

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