On Tuesday, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus released a report recommending that restoration of the Gulf coast be funded in part by penalties levied against oil giant BP, which could amount to billions of dollars. If BP is found guilty of gross negligence for its 4.1-million-barrel spill, fines could be $4,300 per barrel, prompting a levy of some $17.6 billion. Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu has crafted legislation that would earmark at least 80 percent of penalties against BP to go toward a recovery fund.
We wish we could report that it’s all over but the shouting. But on Monday, Florida State University oceanographer Ian MacDonald told the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling that over 50 percent of the spill still remains in the Gulf ecosystem, “a highly durable material that resists further dissipation." MacDonald’s analysis contrasts with statements from federal officials in August that about 75 percent of the oil spilled from the Macondo well had disappeared.