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Center for American Progress

RELEASE: The BP Blowout One Year Later: Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Press Release

RELEASE: The BP Blowout One Year Later: Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Washington, D.C. — The Center for American Progress released two reports on the one-year anniversary of the BP blowout: “The Gulf One Year Later: Beyond Rhetoric?” by Michael Conathan, which discusses the Congressional response to the economic and environmental catastrophe, and “One Year Later BP Still Not ‘Making It Right’” by Jorge Madrid and Kiley Kroh, outlining the lack of accountability and responsibility on the part of BP to restore the Gulf since the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

In “The Gulf One Year Later: Beyond Rhetoric?,” Michael Conathan discusses the congressional response to the BP spill, which claimed the lives of 11 men and set off an 87-day environmental nightmare. The explosion also triggered an equally ferocious barrage of rhetoric in the nation’s capital. A frantic burst of congressional hearings emerged as the immediate oversight response. As usual, they were full of sound and fury—sadly but not surprisingly—signifying nothing. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports that 101 oil-spill-related bills were introduced in the 111th Congress, which came to a close in 2010. Exactly zero were enacted into law. Another 15 have been introduced so far this year—none of which has been acted upon by their committee of jurisdiction. This article explores past efforts and current efforts within the legislature and the administration and why this legislation has not been promulgated a year later.

Members of Congress should work toward passing legislation that would:

  • Mandate that 80 percent of BP’s Clean Water Act fines be sent directly to the Gulf Coast to repair environmental and economic damage
  • Strengthen provisions ensuring local stakeholders have a voice in prioritizing the use of the funds

For the full article, click here.

One Year Later BP Still Not ‘Making It Right’” by Jorge Madrid and Kiley Kroh outlines the lack of responsibility and accountability by BP to fully compensate for the damage done to individuals, businesses, and the fragile ecosystem of the Gulf region. Despite the administration’s insistence that BP bear the entire cost of the unprecedented cleanup, it looks like taxpayers will be picking up half the bill. The galling payouts don’t end there, either. Transocean gave its top executives safety bonuses in December 2010 and Ken Feinberg and his firm, Feinberg Rozen, which was hired by BP to manage the claims process, negotiated themselves a raise, now receiving pay of $1.25 million a month. BP has made clear that it will be ending compensation proceedings for individuals and businesses by 2013 and is exploring a loophole in the wording of the Clean Water Act that could dramatically reduce its liability for significant penalties under both the Clean Water Act and NRDA.

To provide proper oversight and strategic spending, the following steps should be taken:

  • Establish an independent citizens’ advisory council to ensure the money goes to appropriate projects
  • BP and other responsible parties should be required to make an immediate down payment on the NRDA process
  • Responsible parties should be prevented from using the court system to further delay payment while legal challenges are pending

For the full article, click here.

To speak with CAP experts on this topic, please contact Christina DiPasquale at 202.481.8181 or [email protected].