BP Criminal Settlement a Good Down Payment, Not the End of the Line

"Still a lot of work to be done when it comes to penalizing the parties responsible for the Gulf oil disaster"

11-15-2012 // Miles Grant
Oil rig burning

The U.S. Justice Department has reportedly reached a $4.5 billion criminal settlement with BP over the 2010 Gulf oil disaster. The Deepwater Horizon rig explosion killed 11 workers and sent more than 200 million gallons of oil and other hydrocarbons into the Gulf of Mexico, with hundreds of dolphins and sea turtles and thousands of birds being found dead in the disaster zone.

Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, said today:                           

This is a good down payment on the massive restoration needed for the Gulf’s ecosystems and the people and communities that depend on them. There’s still a lot of work to be done when it comes to penalizing the parties responsible for the Gulf oil disaster through the civil provisions of the Oil Pollution Act and the Clean Water Act, but this criminal settlement marks important progress and devotes much-needed resources toward restoration.

“We look forward to working toward a full settlement that will not only hold BP and all other parties responsible for the devastation of the Gulf oil disaster, but deter future violations by sending a clear message that America holds reckless polluters fully accountable.

BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg said today this clears the way to ‘vigorously defend the company against the remaining civil claims.’ We’ll be watching closely to make sure BP isn’t let off the hook and that justice is done. As we’ve communicated to the Justice Department, BP and its partners owe $21 billion for civil penalties under the Clean Water Act and many billions more for restoration under the Oil Pollution Act.”

Learn more about the National Wildlife Federation’s Gulf oil disaster response at NWF.org/OilSpill
Get Our E-Newsletter 
Subscribe to National Wildlife Magazine!