Garret Graves, chairman of Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, said last week “we will not allow BP to walk out of here, wiping its hands” of its responsibilities. He spoke at a July 18 forum sponsored by the City of New Orleans and The National Wildlife Federation on protecting the region from the spill’s aftermath, weather threats and a shrinking coastline.
Speakers discussed the RESTORE Act, signed into law by President Obama on July 6. Under it, 80 percent of the Clean Water Act penalties that BP must pay will be devoted to restoration in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida and Texas.
Wes Kungel, regional representative for Senator Mary Landrieu, said CWA penalties against BP should total between $5 billion and $21.5 billion based on fines of anywhere from $1,100 to $4,300 per barrel and an estimated 4.9 million barrels spilled. Kungel didn’t mention it but BP may also have to pay for methane gas that leaked from its well. BP won’t have to pay up for awhile, however, because the levying of CWA fines awaits the outcome of a federal trial starting in New Orleans in January, or a possible settlement with the company before that, Kungel said.
CWA penalties are only part of what BP will have to fork over to the Gulf. Other fines might be levied under the Endangered Species, Marine Mammal Protection and Migratory Bird Treaty Acts. With those penalties and Natural Resource Damage Assessment or NRDA compensation, “we could be looking at as much as $130 billion in money from BP,” Graves said. Under the NRDA, governed by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, Louisiana will receive compensation from a process requiring that natural resources harmed by the spill be restored
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