Sen. David Vitter, R-Metairie, responded to developments in the settlements with BP and the U.S. Department of Justice after a settlement was reached with the Department of Justice this morning assessing criminal charges against BP.
“With these unprecedented criminal penalties assessed, I urge the Obama administration to be equally aggressive in securing civil monies that can help save our Louisiana coast through the Restore Act and NRDA. I certainly hope they didn’t trade any of those monies away just to nail this criminal scalp to the wall,” Vitter said.
Vitter is an original co-sponsor of the Restore Act and wrote a bill in 2011 that would expedite payments through the Natural Resources Damage Assessment payment process so that work to repair and restore fisheries, oyster beds and marshland could start immediately. Vitter’s bill was said to have played a key role in state negotiations with BP.
Gulf Restoration Network
“The largest oil disaster in our nation’s history warrants record-high criminal penalties. This plea deal does not cover environmental damages, but BP admitting to criminal misconduct bolsters the Department of Justice case to pursue maximum fines, approximately $20 billion, for gross negligence under the Clean Water Act. While it’s unclear where the criminal fines will go, we know most of the Clean Water Act fines will go towards Gulf restoration, as they should,” said Dan Favre, communications director for the Gulf Restoration Network
“BP’s oil disaster continues in the Gulf — from oil still in the marshes to science showing impacts at almost every level of the food chain — and the full impacts are still unfolding. While this criminal plea appears to be good news in the fight to hold BP accountable, the Department of Justice and BP should not prematurely settle claims under the Natural Resources Damage Assessment, which is in place to ensure BP pays full price for repairing the damage their oil has done,” Favre said.