Local Leaders, Environmental Groups Call For Maximum BP Fines

Apr 17, 2013

Environmental groups and community leaders gathered outside the Federal Building in New Orleans to mark the upcoming third anniversary of the BP oil spill. They want the oil company to pay maximum fines.

About two dozen representatives from several environment groups staged the news conference outside the building where BP is on trial. A judge is hearing a civil case that could cost BP more than $20 billion. Several speakers say the damage caused by the oil spill is still an unknown. Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser says he wanted to dispel a perception that the spill damage is long over.

“Every day we see reoccurring oil in Bay Jimmy, in areas out near the well disaster and other areas in St. Mary’s Point. Of course the oil is not as thick as it was at one time, but it’s still there.”  

Fisherman George Barisich says his oyster production is down 93 percent. He says his shrimp production is about 40 percent of what it was before the spill, but he’s spending more to catch them and getting much less money per pound. He says his colleagues are also operating on a thin financial edge.

“If Mother Nature fixes BP’s problem they’ll be OK; if they can weather that little bit of a storm. But if Mother Nature cannot fix it — because we do not know how damaged it is — it is damaged, trust me. I don’t believe the BP commercials. It is damaged — to what extent and where nobody can tell you. So, this is a wait and see.”   

BP issued a statement ahead of Saturday’s three-year anniversary of the 2010 spill. It says the Gulf of Mexico is undergoing what it calls a “robust recovery,” and it claims to be making significant progress cleaning the shoreline.