Leading conservation groups praised the Department of Justice for reaching a historic $4.5 billion settlement on the criminal charges stemming from the 2010 BP oil disaster. This settlement will send $1.2 billion to coastal Louisiana restoration projects with an emphasis on river diversion projects and barrier island restoration.
The statement by the Mississippi River Delta Restoration campaign applauded the Department of Justice for its commitment to holding BP accountable and promoting restoration while stressing that this is only the first step in the pursuit of full accountability for the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
“This announcement is historic not just for the dollar amount but also for the commitment it makes to restoring the Mississippi River Delta,” said the National Audubon Society, National Wildlife Federation,Environmental Defense Fund, Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana and Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation. “Moreover, by specifically directing dollars to fund barrier island restoration and the construction of a river diversion in the Mississippi River Delta, the Department of Justice also acknowledged the need for large-scale restoration of an ecosystem that was both impacted by the spill and already degraded before the spill. Such foresight is necessary to address the long-term health of the region.”
The groups stressed that the next step is to ensure that BP is held fully accountable for its civil penalties under both the Clean Water and Oil Pollution Acts.
“Today’s announcement is only the beginning. By affirming their pursuit of gross negligence in the civil suits, the Department of Justice has the opportunity to send tens of billions of dollars back to restoring the ecosystems, economies and communities still reeling from this disaster."