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NWF: Hold BP Accountable for Gulf Oil Spill

PHOTO: Pelican found following the oil spill in Florida. Courtesy of the NWF
PHOTO: Pelican found following the oil spill in Florida. Courtesy of the NWF
October 11, 2012

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Pressure is increasing on the U.S. government to ensure that BP is held accountable for the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

The National Wildlife Federation on Wednesday called on Attorney General Eric Holder to prevent the oil company from paying a reduced amount. This comes as published reports indicate a settlement figure that is less than the fines generated from federal penalties.

David White, director of the federation's Gulf of Mexico Restoration Project, explains.

"We're hearing that there's been numbers that have been mentioned in the recent news reports that say that BP is considering settling somewhere between $15 billion and $18 billion."

The federation fears there won't be enough to repair the damage done to Gulf waters and wildlife.

Earlier this year, Congress passed the RESTORE Act to make sure at least 80 percent of fines collected from BP will go to restoring the Gulf. White says any settlement will have important implications.

"All of the people of the Gulf Coast have a stake in these negotiations and we think that they ought to disclose to the public what they're contemplating in terms of a settlement because it now affects people."

Recent evidence presented by the Department of Justice suggests BP was grossly negligent, which increases the Clean Water Act fines to more than $4,000 per barrel spilled. An estimated 4.1 million gallons of oil leaked into the Gulf during the Deepwater Horizon spill.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - FL