Reaction from Louisiana on the BP Settlement Agreement

By: CBS
By: CBS

For more information on BP's settlement agreement, click the link below this story.

Thursday's announcement of a criminal settlement between the Department of Justice and BP is bringing strong reaction from environmental advocates and those in the oil industry.

Shortly after news broke of the BP criminal settlement, environmentalists began taking a closer look at where the money would go and the implications it could have in a pending civil case between the Justice Department and BP.

"The nation's largest oil disaster, in which 11 people lost their lives does warrant a record-high criminal penalties, and I'm glad to see that happen."

Dan Favre is with the Gulf Restoration Network. The group supports the choice of giving part of the $4.5 billion settlement to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the National Academy of Sciences to be used for coastal restoration and studies pertaining to human health and drilling safety since the spill.

But he says it's only another step on the road to restoration.

"This plea does not fully cover environmental damages. There's still outstanding civil liability on the part of BP under the Clean Water Act. And if anything, this admission of guilt by BP bolsters the Department of Justice's case to pursue maximum fines due to gross negligence."

"We're losing some of the rigs in the shallow water that we used to have, simply because they can't adhere to the new regulations that are on them."

Don Briggs heads up the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association. Its members were deeply affected by what happened after the spill, including the subsequent moratorium and tightening of drilling regulations.

Briggs says Thursday's settlement should help move the industry and the region past the oil disaster.

"It is time to move on. There's been a lot of heartache on this on so many different sides of it and we have to remember the families that were involved in the tragic accident, so yeah, it is time to move on."

Still, it's not over yet. BP said it will "vigorously defend itself" against the remaining civil claims, while the Justice Department says they'll pursue BP for gross negligence, which could lead to higher fines in the civil case.


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