Despite $18.7 Billion BP Gulf Oil Spill Settlement, Concerns Remain How Money will be Spent

Posted July 8, 2015

MP3 Interview with Raleigh Hoke, campaign director of the Gulf Restoration Network, conducted by Melinda Tuhus

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On July 2, a little over five years after an explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig killed 11 workers and spilled 4.9 million barrels of crude oil into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, British Petroleum, the company largely found responsible, agreed to a $18.7 billion settlement for all federal, state and local environmental damage claims against it. Although this is the largest environmental settlement in U.S. history, the company, had it not decided to settle, could have faced claims amounting to twice as much.

Under the agreement, BP would pay the federal government a civil penalty of $5.5 billion under the Clean Water Act over a 15-year timeframe, and pay $7.1 billion under the Natural Resource Damage Assessment to the gulf, which is meant to compensate for direct environmental harm caused by the spill. The settlement still must be approved by a federal judge.

While the settlement reached awards a substantial amount of money, many environmental advocates have serious concerns about how much of this money is actually going to be allocated towards restoring the Gulf's environment and impacted communities. Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with Raleigh Hoke, campaign director of the Gulf Restoration Network. Here, he explains how the settlement was reached and concerns that remain about how the money will be spent.

For more information, visit the website of the New Orleans-based Gulf Restoration Network at healthygulf.org.

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