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Gulf Residents Ask DOJ to Hold BP Fully Accountable
Today marked the start of the civil trial to hold BP accountable for the 2010 oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. As dawn broke in New Orleans, 50 Gulf coast residents and representatives from National Wildlife Federation, Environmental Defense Fund, National Audubon Society, Levees.org, Gulf Restoration Network, Sierra Club, and university students came to the Hale Boggs Federal Courthouse to demonstrate that they, like the rest of the nation, expect BP to pay for the destruction in the Gulf of Mexico.
Three years after the devastating Deepwater Horizon explosion, the gulf is still suffering. Dolphins are still dying in high numbers of as-yet unexplained causes and additional oil washes ashore after each big storm. In his opening statements today, Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell stated that one million barrels of oil remains unaccounted for.
BP Trial – Tens of Billions at Stake
Some people may be asking, “Hasn’t BP paid for the damage?” and the simple answer is “No.” BP did pay a record-breaking $4.5 billion penalty in the criminal portion of the case, but BP still faces tens of billions in civil penalties for reckless violations of the Clean Water Act and the Oil Pollution Act.
One of the main issues at hand is whether or not BP is guilty of “gross negligence.” With everything the public knows about the failed tests, the intentional misrepresentations about the size of the spill, and BP’s abysmal safety record, NWF’s legal experts believe the case should be a clear-cut case of gross negligence.
However, media reports indicate that the Department of Justice may have offered BP a lower-than-expected settlement. Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation commented, “A potential settlement as low as the reported $16 billion would not be much of a deterrent for an oil giant like BP—and it is unlikely to be enough to fully restore the Gulf of Mexico as the law requires. The Obama Administration can and must do more to hold BP accountable.”
Speak Up for the Gulf!
Help protect Gulf dolphins! Ensure that the Department of Justice holds BP fully accountable for restoring Gulf habitat >>
You can follow all the BP trial proceedings on the Mississippi River Delta Coalition’s Twitter and Facebook.