Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Will U.S. Taxpayers Foot the Bill for BP Oil Spill Cleanup?

Energy

DeSmogBlog

by Farron Cousins

A proposed settlement deal between the federal government and BP over their involvement in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and subsequent oil leak could shift the burden of cleanup costs away from the oil giant and onto U.S. taxpayers.

The current settlement option is just one of several being negotiated between the federal government and BP. But this settlement option would route fine and settlement money through the Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA), rather than fining the company directly via the Clean Water Act.

Not only could this reduce the total amount of money that the company pays in fines, but it would shift the burden of cost onto U.S. taxpayers.  While the company would still be paying out of pocket, the NRDA allows the company to write off their fines and deduct that from their yearly taxes.  Paying through the Clean Water Act would not allow the costs to be tax deductible. 

But the cost shift is just one of the problems with the proposed deal.  The provision that has residents of the Gulf Coast up in arms is the fact that the NRDA would route the money through the U.S. Treasury, instead of directly sending it to local and state governments.  This means that the Treasury, not the affected areas, would be in charge of determining how the money is spent.

While Louisiana and Florida would actually see the amount of money flowing into their areas increase, the states of Texas, Alabama, and Mississippi would suffer a severe reduction, if not total elimination, of their settlement money. 

Accusations are already flying that President Obama has engineered this deal in order to secure more money for Florida, in the hopes that it will keep the valuable swing state blue in this year’s election.  But the only thing Obama is guilty of in this story is appointing an industry-friendly Attorney General, Eric Holder, who made his fortune at the corporate defense law firm of Covington & Burling, who lists notable polluters such as Halliburton among their clients. 

BP has already written off as much as $11.8 billion in their oil spill clean up costs – directly shifting that tax burden onto U.S. citizens.  Any deal that allows them to continue to write off their fines and costs is an unfair punishment to all Americans, but particularly to those of us who were impacted by the BP oil disaster.

Visit EcoWatch’s GULF OIL SPILL pages for more related news on this topic.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A coral reef in Egypt's Red Sea. Tropical ocean ecosystems could see sudden biodiversity losses this decade if emissions are not reduced. Georgette Douwma / Stone / Getty Images

The biodiversity loss caused by the climate crisis will be sudden and swift, and could begin before 2030.

Read More Show Less
An approximately one-year-old puma in the streets of Santiago, Chile on March 24, 2020, in search for food as fewer people are outside due to the pandemic. ANDRES PINA / ATON CHILE / AFP via Getty Images

A third cougar has been sighted wandering through a residential neighborhood in the Chilean capital of Santiago as millions of the city's residents are under lockdown measures in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Bernie Sanders announces he is suspending his campaign via a livestream Wednesday. berniesanders.com via Getty Images

Bernie Sanders, the Independent Vermont Senator who campaigned for aggressive action on the climate crisis and environmental justice, has dropped out of the 2020 Democratic primary race.

Read More Show Less
The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana has been converted to a 1,000-bed field hospital for coronavirus patients to alleviate stress on local hospitals. Chris Graythen / Getty Images

An area in Louisiana whose predominantly black and brown residents are hard-hit by health problems from industry overdevelopment is experiencing one of the highest death rates from coronavirus of any county in the United States.

Read More Show Less

Trending

A woman lies in bed with the flu. marka/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

A central player in the fight against the novel coronavirus is our immune system. It protects us against the invader and can even be helpful for its therapy. But sometimes it can turn against us.

Read More Show Less