For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Bill Snape,(202) 536-9351,

Miyoko Sakashita, (510) 845-6703,

$19 Billion Settlement From BP Should Go to Gulf Recovery

WASHINGTON - As part of an agreement with the federal government and Gulf Coast states, BP today agreed to pay $18.7 billion to resolve lawsuits over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

“While BP can write a fat check and think it’s putting this disaster behind it, the Gulf is still far from recovered. For the thousands of dolphins, turtles, birds and fish that died — plus the 11 men who died in the explosion — there is no coming back,” said Miyoko Sakashita of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Worse yet, the Obama administration has yet to implement significant reforms to make sure this never happens again. In fact, the administration has been pushing for more offshore drilling in the Gulf and the Atlantic, and fracking existing wells to maximize their flow. I hate to say it, but there’s a good chance we’ll see something like the BP disaster again in the not-so-distant future.”

The spill — the worst oil disaster in U.S. history — dumped some 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Recent studies in the Gulf highlight ongoing harms sparked by the spill, including severe lung injuries that killed dolphins, near-record lows of Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle nesting, chemical dispersants found toxic to corals, and a “bathtub ring” of oil remaining on the seafloor.

“Every penny of this BP settlement ought to be going to recovering these badly damaged Gulf ecosystems,” Sakashita said. “And BP ought to be paying a fine that really hurts, rather than an amount that will barely affect its balance sheet.”

BP reported about $44.3 billion in profits last year and $52.3 billion in 2013. “While $18.7 billion looks like a lot, just remember that BP makes that amount in net profit every three months,” said attorney Charlie Tebbutt, who filed the Center’s lawsuit against BP over this spill. “These penalties are inadequate to deter a company of the size of BP from further criminal and negligent conduct."

Even though the federal court found BP grossly negligent for its oil spill, which set up BP to pay $13.7 billion in Clean Water Act fines alone, only $5.5 billion of the settlement is for water-pollution damages. Meanwhile, the Center has a case still pending against BP to force it to disclose how much toxic pollution actually flowed into the Gulf under the Right to Know Act.

“It’s finally time to learn our lesson from the BP spill and all the spills that have happened since then: We need to turn away from dirty fossil fuels to energy sources that are smarter, cleaner and safer,” Sakashita said.


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At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature - to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.

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