BP oil spill

As the five-year anniversary approaches later this month of the BP oil spill, the Environmental  Defense Fund is gearing up for monitoring how restoration money is used to repair damage.

The Restore Act sets aside 80 percent of the still-undetermined billions of dollars in fines BP will be ordered to pay in Clean Water Act fines.

Some projects are already drawing critics. The Gulf Restoration Network is suing to block the money from being used for an Alabama convention center.

Natalie Peyronnin is director of science policy for the Environmental Defense Fund.

NASA / Wikimedia Commons

The Disaster Resilience Leadership Academy at Tulane University received $1.4 million from the BP Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative to fund research about impacts of the 2010 oil spill in Louisiana and Alabama. 

This three year program will focus on three coastal communities. Two areas in Louisiana and one in Alabama will be selected to study the impact of the oil spill.

Serguei S. Dukachev / Wikimedia Commons

A report published last month found that an unusually high number of bottlenose dolphins have been dying all along the Gulf Coast since February 2010. This unusual mortality event, or UME, began two months before the 2010 BP oil spill, but groups including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration say the spill is responsible for the continued die-off of this species.

Now it’s BP’s turn in court.

The oil company will be calling witnesses as it makes a case for civil penalties lower than the $13.7 billion the federal government wants from the 2010 oil spill.

The second week of a three-week trial is set to begin today in New Orleans.

Last week, government experts testified about environmental, economic and social damage caused by the spill.

BP attorneys disputed much of that testimony, and have argued the recovery of the environment and the Gulf economy has been strong.

A government witness at the trial to determine civil penalties against BP for the 2010 oil spill says the disaster hurt a wide array of industries over a broad geographic area.

Charles Mason also testified yesterday that the harm was only modestly countered by BP's spending and investment in the region.

U.S. Justice Department attorneys are pushing for the maximum $13.7 million Clean Water Act penalty for BP.

BP says the figure should be less.

Lawyers for BP and the government are set to begin the third and final phase today of the trial over its 2010 oil spill. A Tulane University expert on maritime law says there are billions of dollars at stake.

Federal judge Carl Barbier has been overseeing the complex litigation over the 2010 disaster.

Tulane law professor Martin Davies is director of the Tulane Maritime Law Center. He says that process has proven much faster than scheduling jury trials. Barbier has already made key rulings in the case.

John Cruden served with U.S. Special Forces in Vietnam, taking his law school aptitude test in Saigon and eventually becoming a government lawyer.

Earlier this month, he started a new job running the environment and natural resources division at the Justice Department. For Cruden, 68, the new role means coming home to a place where he worked as a career lawyer for about 20 years.

Cruden has been around long enough to have supervised the Exxon Valdeez spill case, a record-setter. That is, until the Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

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Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

RADiUS-TWC

Tête-à-Tête is a new series that uncovers extended versions of interviews conducted by WWNO journalists. Broadcasting means time limits, and often conversations that range from thirty to forty minutes in length get thirty to forty seconds on air. Tête-à-Tête brings these deeper discussions to light.

Margaret Brown directed and  co-produced "The Great Invisible" — a new documentary about the 2010 BP Oil Spill that won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2014 South by Southwest film festival. 

RADiUS-TWC

"The Great Invisible" is a new documentary about the 2010 BP Oil Spill opening on December 12 at the Prytania Theater. Margaret Brown, the movie's director, grew up on the Alabama coast and saw the impact the spill had on her family and neighbors.

But, as Brown continued to pay attention, she realized this was not just a story about the victims, and that the oil executives were not the only enemies.

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