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Deepwater Horizon Talks Stall as Groups Haggle over Diminishing Penalties

- Common Dreams staff

Hopes for a settlement between oil company BP and the US government over the Deepwater Horizon oil spill faded today, as both sides refused to budge over reparation negotiations. The talks stalled as BP continued to refuse to pay a requested $18 billion payout, which is down from the original $25 billion suggested when talks began. Either payout, rights groups say, would be miniscule compared to the environmental damage done by BP's negligence.

Victim of the BP oil spill (Photo: Charlie Riedel / AP) BP has thus far succeeded in avoiding the case going to trail where the company could face charges of gross negligence under the Clean Water Act.

Although the Department of Justice would seek a $25 billion settlement with BP in court, such a result would not likely resolve all civil and criminal damages and liabilities arising from the disaster, which spilled 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, killed 11 workers, and "did untold damage to the ecosystem," according to rights group Public Citizen.

Either way, a settlement will likely keep penalties to a minimum and keep BP senior management out of jail.

As the two parties continue to haggle, clean up efforts for the spill continue two years on. A report released last week showed that nearly all the tar balls that washed up on the beaches around the Gulf by Hurricane Isaac originate from the BP spill.

According to the Sunday Times in the UK, a settlement deal may not happen until early next year.