Earlier today, BP announced that it had reached an agreement with the United States government and will pay $4.5 billion in civil and criminal fines for the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, which took place in April 2010.
Oceana, the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans, issued the following statement from deputy vice president Jacqueline Savitz:
"Oceana is pleased that BP is admitting it played a criminal role in the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, and that the government is trying to hold BP accountable for its negligence.
By rights, this settlement should be just a first step. BP still owes Americans tens of billions of dollars more, possibly as much as $90 billion according to our analysis, including $20 billion under the Clean Water Act, an estimated $30 billion for natural resource damages and additional compensation for economic damages to the fishing and tourism industries. (Other estimates suggest the figure could be twice as large.)
These fines should reflect the scale of the impact, which was unprecedented and far-reaching. We hope to hear soon that BP will step up to fully compensate the public for the damage caused by its conduct.
Unfortunately, BP is back in the Gulf, and deepwater drilling continues to be dirty and dangerous. Nothing in this settlement, and no law passed since the spill, prevents the next major offshore spill from happening. While this deal may be a positive step, many more are needed to restore what was lost in the Deepwater Horizon spill and to prevent the next oil disaster."