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Transocean settlement targets environment

Jan. 4, 2013 at 1:29 PM

NEW ORLEANS, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- At least $800 million of Transocean Deepwater Inc.'s settlement in the 2010 BP oil spill will go to environmental and economic projects, U.S. prosecutors said.

The Department of Justice announced Thursday that Transocean -- owners of the oil platform operated by BP, where an explosion on April 20, 2010 killed 11 workers, injured 17 and initiated an oil spill that lasted for three months -- would pay $400 million to settle criminal charges and $1 billion to resolve federal Clean Water Act violations.

In a breakdown of the settlement, the department said 80 percent of the $1 billion was designated for "projects in and for the Gulf states for the environmental and economic benefit of the region," as stipulated by the 2012 legislative response to the oil spill, the Restore Act.

Restore is an anagram for the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012.

In addition to the $800 million, $150 million of the settlement will go to "improved oil spill prevention and response," for the Gulf region. On top of that, $150 million is slated for "acquiring, restoring, preserving and conserving ... the marine and coastal environments, ecosystems and bird and wildlife habitat in the Gulf of Mexico and bordering states harmed," by the spill.

The Environmental Protection Agency is "taking every possible step to restore and protect the Gulf Coast ecosystem," said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for the EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

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