A federal district judge in New Orleans ruled today that BP PLC was guilty of gross negligence in the actions it took leading up to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. This ruling could potentially increase the total civil penalties under the Clean Water Act to upwards of $18 billion, 80% of which is expected to be appropriated to Gulf-wide ecosystem restoration under the terms of the RESTORE Act.
Bob Stokes, President of the Galveston Bay Foundation, explains the importance of the ruling for the Gulf Coast and Galveston Bay. “Texas will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to dedicate its share of these penalty funds to restoration of the Texas coast. Our top priority should be to ensure that these funds are used as they were intended, to clean up and restore bays, marshes, oyster reefs, and ocean habitat that are crucial to a healthy Texas economy.”
The ruling came more than four years after the spill. Further hearings are scheduled to take place in the New Orleans federal court in January 2015, to determine the size of the spill and the per barrel fine that will be levied and ultimately determine the size of the penalties.