BP fines should pay for long-term Gulf recovery, Obama report finds
A US government report on the future of the Gulf Coast found that fines to be levied against energy giant BP should be used to pay for the long-term restoration of the coastline and waters devastated by the worst oil spill in US history, dpa reported.
BP and other companies involved in the disaster face potential civil penalties reaching tens of billions of dollars for the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, which allowed more than 4 million barrels of oil to spill into the Gulf of Mexico between April and August.
The British oil giant spent an estimated 9.5 billion dollars to cap the gushing well and clean up oil. The well was permanently sealed earlier this month. BP has also created a 20-billion-dollar, government-run compensation fund for residents affected by the crisis.
The report ordered by US President Barack Obama and written by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said that further penalties against BP should go directly to helping Gulf Coast residents recover from the spill.
The penalties typically go into a fund to help pay for future cleanups. Diverting the money toward the Gulf Coast would require the approval of US lawmakers.
Mabus also recommended the creation of a Gulf Coast Recovery Council to help coordinate the money and oversee projects in the region. The report calls for the spill's culprits to finance a media campaign to restore public confidence in the Gulf's beaches and seafood industry.