Fair, Robust Resolution Needed for Gulf Oil Disaster

"BP should not be let off the hook with a low settlement and allowed to shortchange the Gulf.”

10-18-2012 // Jaclyn McDougal
Oil burning in Gulf of Mexico

To avoid a trial for the Gulf oil disaster, recent reports suggest BP has offered amounts ranging from $16 to $18 billion—an inadequate amount that is less than half of the total liability to repair what is the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history.

“BP should not be let off the hook with a low settlement and allowed to shortchange the Gulf,” said John Kostyack, vice president of wildlife conservation at the National Wildlife Federation. “A low settlement leaves the Gulf of Mexico more vulnerable to further deterioration from natural and manmade disasters, as well as demonstrates to polluters that they will not be held fully accountable.”

BP must accept responsibility under relevant federal laws including the Clean Water Act, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary today, as well as The Oil Pollution Act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Endangered Species Act and Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act and embrace a long term process of restoration.

The settlement must fully repair, or at least pay for, all damage to natural resources caused by the Gulf oil disaster, especially considering reports of a new oil slick and loss of access to natural resources during the disaster. 

“It will take an investment of tens of billions of dollars to restore the Gulf over the long-term,” said Dr. Ian MacDonald, professor of  Oceanography, Florida State University. “Crucial data is still being gathered to assess the damage for the Gulf oil disaster, so a potentially low settlement now is cause for concern.”

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