Baldwin Co. Officials React to BP Settlement Deal

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BALDWIN COUNTY, AL - Businesses and municipal officials in Alabama remain skeptical that Thursday's announced settlement of the criminal charges filed in connection with Deepwater Horizon oil spill will end the litigation, but there is a sense that this is a good start.

Now that the criminal charges seems to have been resolved, it's on to the civil penalties which could mean big bucks for coastal communities.

The physical signs of the massive oil spill that was Deepwater Horizon are harder to find two-and-a-half years later.

Images of the boats and boom, oil gushing unabated out of the ruptured well and most importantly the lives lost have faded.

For folks along the Gulf Coast a $4.5 billion admission of criminal wrongdoing by BP is a good start.

"It does indicate a willingness to settle."

But there are concerns.

"The problem is the Department of Justice may settle for less than they should, which is a concern that we have cause we won't be involved in that," said Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft.

"I'm a cynic, so why would I think anything the Justice Department and British Petroleum agree to is in our best interest?"

BP may pay the biggest criminal penalty in U.S. history, but that may not be a good thing for this part of the coast.

BP still faces civil penalties for violations of the Clean Water Act and the Oil Pollution Act. That's money that would fund economic and environmental recovery and could be in the neighborhood of $20 billion.

"The Clean Water Act, which filters through Restore and Oil Pollution Act, which filters through NRDA, those two the Restore and NRDA monies are civil action that will flow to our cities on the coast."

For now any settlement talks remain in the hands of the Justice Department.

"I would hope then our Justice Department's sole purpose be justice when you're helping BP slide along on the lower end of the payment scale that's not justice."

Signs of the oil spill may be harder to find these days, but the wounds left behind are still healing.

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