NEW ORLEANS, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- The second phase of BP's civil trial in the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico began Monday and the company must be held accountable, environmentalists said.
At issue is the amount of oil spilled in the gulf after an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform.
Eleven workers were killed in the blast.
BP contends approximately 2.5 million barrels of oil were spilled over 87 days, an estimate the government says is short by about 1.7 million barrels.
The Environmental Defense Fund, National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society and the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, a Louisiana group, said it's time BP was held accountable.
"We cannot wait any longer for our ruined wetlands and barrier islands to be restored," they said in a joint statement Friday. "BP must be held responsible for its actions so that Gulf Coast ecosystems and economies can recover and rebuild."
The environmental groups said some of the restoration funds can't be spent until the case is resolved. They said BP hasn't "paid a penny" in civil fines since the spill more than three years ago.
The New York Times reported Sunday the British oil company could face more than $18 billion in fines if the court supports the government's estimate of 4.2 million barrels of oil spilled.
The first phase of a civil trial concluded April 17.