Will U.S. Taxpayers Foot the Bill for BP Oil Spill Cleanup?
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.
By Jessica Corbett
This story was originally published on Common Dreams on September 19, 2020.
Some advocates kicked off next week's Climate Week NYC early Saturday by repurposing the Metronome, a famous art installation in Union Square that used to display the time of day, as a massive "Climate Clock" in an effort to pressure governments worldwide to take swift, bold action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and rein in human-caused global heating.
<div id="0bde7" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="002ce26d8d0c627f76d752e14d234d6e"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1307397838884741121" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">LIVE: #ClimateClock about to go live at Union square replacing the atronomical clock, with a carbon countdown!… https://t.co/5OzxwUwWDf</div> — Greg Schwedock🌹(⧖) (@Greg Schwedock🌹(⧖))<a href="https://twitter.com/GregSchwedock/statuses/1307397838884741121">1600542909.0</a></blockquote></div><p>A mobile climate clock that Swedish youth activist Greta Thunberg "now carries with her, as well as the larger Climate Clock project, was assembled by a team of artists, makers, scientists, and activists based in New York, and is part of the Beautiful Trouble community of projects," according to <a href="https://climateclock.world/" target="_blank">Climateclock.world</a>, which details the science behind the numbers displayed and how to install clocks in other cities.</p>
<p>"In an accompanying app, the artists include more detail about solutions," <em>Fast Company</em> <a href="https://www.fastcompany.com/90552230/manhattans-classic-digital-clock-is-now-counting-down-to-climate-disaster" target="_blank">reported</a> Saturday. "Another number tracks the current percentage of renewable energy in the world. An interactive tool shows how to 'flatten the climate curve' and how much difference it makes to invest more now, and to move more quickly. A DIY maker kit explains how to make a countdown clock of your own."</p>
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