WASHINGTON, May 3 (UPI) -- BP's consideration of $600 million to help restore the southern U.S. coast soiled by the 2010 oil spill is the right move, the U.S. Interior Department said.
BP reached a preliminary agreement with trustees managing 29 projects in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida to provide $600 million for post-spill restoration. The Interior Department said the agreement is the first step toward a BP agreement to provide $1 billion for restoration programs.
Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks at Interior Rachel Jacobson said restoration was already supported with $71 billion from last year.
"We're committed to working with our fellow trustees to ensure the gulf is made whole, and that the residents of the region and other stakeholders and interest groups are fully engaged in those efforts," she said in a statement.
BP last year agreed to pay $4 billion to the U.S. government in criminal penalties and another $8.5 million to settle other claims.
The first phase of a civil trial involving the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico concluded April 17 in New Orleans. The companies -- Transocean, BP and Halliburton -- involved in the incident have blamed each other for the events that led to the disaster.