Originally published on Tue February 26, 2013 8:44 am
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
And I'm Linda Wertheimer.
Today, a federal judge in New Orleans hears from witnesses to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. A civil trial of BP opened yesterday in a case to determine blame and financial liability for the environmental disaster that was the worst disaster in U.S. history.
There is speculation about a last minute settlement. But if that doesn't happen, a federal judge in New Orleans will today begin hearing arguments about BP's liability for the 2010 oil rig explosion and spill in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 men and led to one of the biggest environmental disasters in the nation's history.
At stake: Billions of dollars in potential penalties.
Lawyers are gathering in New Orleans for the first part of a civil trial over BP’s oil spill three years ago in the Gulf of Mexico. A federal judge will decide what caused the explosion and fire that killed 11 workers.
State wildlife and fisheries regulators have temporarily opened a section of beach along the Elmer's Island Refuge.
The open section will include the area at the end of the access road and continue about a half-mile to the east. Road access will open 30 minutes before sunrise and close 30 minutes after sunset seven days a week.
Officials said Tuesday that the temporary opening will be assessed after 10 days, and is subject to reconsideration.
Areas that will remain closed will be clearly marked.
Originally published on Tue February 19, 2013 11:10 am
A federal judge in New Orleans has approved a $1 billion civil settlement over its role in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill where 11 men died in April of 2010, the AP reports.
As we reported back in January, federal authorities blamed Transocean "for acting negligently when the rig's crew proceeded with maneuvers to the deep-sea well in the face of clear danger signals that oil and natural gas were flowing."
BP says it has failed to reach a settlement in advance of next week's civil trial on the Deepwater Horizon accident and is ready to defend itself vigorously against allegations of gross negligence in the U.S.'s biggest environmental disaster.
Rupert Bondy, the group's general counsel, said in a statement Tuesday that settlement demands were "not based on reality or the merits of the case."
Billions are at stake in the Feb. 25 trial in New Orleans to determine BP's civil liability. BP already agreed to a $4.5 billion settlement of federal criminal charges.
A natural gas well in the Gulf of Mexico, located approximately 50 miles east of Venice, is releasing gas uncontrolled and has been partially evacuated, according to the well's operator and a report today in Fuel Fix, an energy news website operated in part by the Houston Chronicle.
The committee set up to manage most environmental fines going to the states affected by the BP oil spill of 2010 says it will release its plan July 6.
The Courier reports that a seven-page document released last week by the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council includes a list of projects that would meet the goals of the Restore Act. It also describes how the trust money will be made available over the next 10 years and a three-year project and program priority list.
BP has agreed to a $4 billion settlement of a criminal case filed by the Justice Department over the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. A pending civil case could cost tens of billions of dollars more in penalties.