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Monday, February 18, 2013
Oil spill firm to pay $400 million to fix Gulf coast
The Deepwater Horizon spill has just provided a $400-million windfall for Louisiana's environment. Transocean, which worked with BP on the stricken Macondo well, pleaded guilty last week to a violation of the US Clean Water Act, and admitted that it was negligent in the 2010 spill.
It is the second largest fine for environmental damage in history, after the $4.5-billion fine BP had to pay out for the same spill. Transocean has two years to pay up in full.
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) will get $150 million, and another $150 million will go to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), a non-profit based in Washington DC. The NAS will use its portion to research oil-spill prevention and better ways to respond to spills. The NFWF's Timothy DiCintio says it will distribute its award between the affected Gulf Coast states, for ongoing remediation efforts such as marsh and wetland clean-up.
The remainder of the money will go directly to Louisiana's $50-billion Coastal Master Plan, which aims to restore the state's degraded coastline. The money will fund a host of projects, including restoring barrier island reefs and creating diversions on the Mississippi to repair eroded coasts.
"The way Louisiana looks at it, their coastal problems are so pervasive that the degradation from the spill was a final indignity," says DiCintio. The modifications should not only allow the state to rebuild after the lingering effects of the spill and hurricane Katrina, but also help the coast cope with future disasters. More