Green group hails Transocean settlement

Jan. 7, 2013 at 9:43 AM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Transocean's decision to plead guilty to violations in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill gets restoration revenue to affected areas, an advocate said.

The U.S. Justice Department last week announced Deepwater Horizon rig owner Transocean agreed to pay a combined $1.4 billion in penalties related to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

"This is an important step to get money flowing into the Gulf of Mexico," John Kostyack, vice president for wildlife conservation at the National Wildlife Federation, said in a statement. "Environmental restoration is critical to the well-being of the communities and ecosystems of the gulf."

The Justice Department said most of Transocean's settlement was designated for "projects in and for the gulf states for the environmental and economic benefit of the region," as outlined in a 2012 sustainability measure dubbed the Restore Act.

BP in November agreed to plead guilty to 14 criminal charges stemming from the accident as well as to $4 billion in fines and penalties.

NWF said BP, however, still faces billions of dollars in penalties from the disaster, noting failure to hold the British supermajor fully accountable "would leave the Gulf of Mexico more vulnerable to further deterioration from natural and man-made disasters."

BP said the Transocean settlement shows the company played a major role in the disaster.

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