Environmental groups say gulf spill money lacking
WASHINGTON — Three years after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill polluted the Gulf Coast's ecosystem and hammered its economy, the region is still waiting on billions of dollars in fines and other payments from BP.
“One of the things that's particularly difficult is, the longer you wait to restore an ecosystem, the harder it gets (to fix),” said Sara Gonzalez-Rothi, a senior policy specialist at the National Wildlife Federation. “It's time for justice for the gulf.”
Saturday marks the third anniversary of the 2010 spill, but only a fraction of the billions in fines and other money owed by BP has trickled in for use on restoration projects, environmental groups say.
Local, state and environmental groups are banking on money from several sources, including:
•A $4 billion settlement between BP and the Justice Department to settle criminal charges related to the 11 men killed when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded. More than half will go to the Gulf Coast.
• A $400 million settlement between Transocean, owner of the rig, and the Justice Department, also to settle criminal charges. About $300 million is earmarked for the region.
• A $20 billion trust fund set up by BP to pay claims filed by individuals and businesses hurt by the spill.
• Civil penalties under the Clean Water Act that could total $17.6 billion to be paid by BP and $1 billion to be paid by Transocean. Those penalties will be decided in a civil trial underway in New Orleans. Most of the fine money would go to the gulf.
• An undetermined amount from the Natural Resources Damage Assessment for restoration projects. BP has promised to pay $1 billion for early restoration projects. BP says it has spent $25 billion helping the gulf region recover, largely though clean-up and restoration projects and claims paid to individuals and businesses.
“BP has funded 10 projects, including efforts to restore dunes, marshes, oyster habitats and bird- and sea-turtle-nesting habitats,” said Scott Dean, a BP spokesman.
But Gulf Coast groups say the region is still struggling.
Environmental groups say an unusually high number of sick dolphins are washing up on shore. They're finding tar balls on beaches, particularly after big storms.
“Yet, we really have had no significant money to start to address this, despite the fact that BP promised that everything would be made right,” said Cynthia Sarthou, executive director of the Gulf Restoration Network.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- U.S. clears police officer in Ferguson case, criticizes police force
- Alabama Supreme Court defies federal judge’s ruling
- Natural gas royalties lawsuit hinges on transaction date
- Lawmakers press Veterans Affairs for improved access to rural health care
- Carnegie Mellon expert to school Congress on security
- Feds raid ‘maternity hotels’ in Ca.
- Oil spill in Washington river endangers wildlife
- Top Senate Republican to states: Ignore EPA carbon rules
- Congress investigates Hillary Clintons use of private email
- Ferguson’s white officer justified in shooting black man, feds find
- Md. man accused in 5 random shootings