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PNS Daily Newscast - November 19, 2018. 


More than 1,200 missing in the California wildfires. Also on the Monday rundown: A pair of reports on gun violence in the nation; and concerns that proposed changes to 'Green Card' rules favor the wealthy.

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BP Found "Grossly Negligent" for Gulf Oil Spill Disaster

PHOTO: Four years after the Gulf oil disaster, dolphins and sea turtles are still dying in high numbers in areas affected by the oil. Photo credit: Mandy Tumlin, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
PHOTO: Four years after the Gulf oil disaster, dolphins and sea turtles are still dying in high numbers in areas affected by the oil. Photo credit: Mandy Tumlin, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
September 5, 2014

AUSTIN, Texas - A federal judge has found that the "reckless conduct" of BP caused the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which left 11 people dead and became the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history.

Thursday's ruling concluded that the massive spill in 2010 was the result of "gross negligence or willful misconduct" by BP, and that the oil giant bears the majority of the responsibility.

Amander Fuller, Texas policy specialist for Gulf of Mexico restoration at the National Wildlife Federation, called the ruling a step toward justice.

"(U.S. District Court) Judge (Carl) Barbier clearly saw what the rest of us saw, in that BP was grossly negligent in their actions in the Gulf," she said. "Hopefully, this means we're on the path to good ecosystem-scale restoration of the region, for now and future generations."

The gross negligence ruling, along with a pending determination by the judge on how many barrels of oil were spilled, will be used when penalties are levied for violations of the Clean Water Act. That phase of the trial is set to begin in late January.

The fines could cost BP upwards of $17 billion, money Fuller said is vital to the continued recovery from the catastrophe, in Texas and other states along the Gulf.

"Eighty percent of that money is going to go into something called the RESTORE Act, our Gulf restoration trust fund," she said, "which then gets funneled down to the states in five different ways, to protect and restore the Gulf of Mexico environment and economy."

BP said it strongly disagrees with Thursday's decision and will immediately appeal. The conduct of the two other parties involved in the spill, Transocean and Halliburton, was ruled to be negligent.

The text of the ruling is online at laed.uscourts.gov. BP's statement in response is at bp.com. More information on the RESTORE Act is at blog.nwf.org.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - TX