NEW ORLEANS, April 16 (UPI) -- Demonstrators marched Tuesday outside the federal courthouse in New Orleans where a judge was hearing testimony on the 2010 Macondo oil spill.
The explosion on the Deepwater Horizon platform in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, killed 11 workers and set off one of the worst marine environmental disasters in history. A coalition of environmental groups, carrying signs shaped like drops of oil, noted the upcoming third anniversary, the (New Orleans) Times-Picayune reported.
"Three years later, the oil spill is still a living disaster with ongoing effects, many of which will remain unknown for decades to come. Real restoration for the Gulf is possible, but not until BP pays its justified fines. The sooner BP's case is resolved, the sooner we can get to work repairing the Gulf," the groups said in a statement.
Protesters came from the Environmental Defense Fund, the National Audubon Society, the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, the Gulf Restoration Network and the Sierra Club.
The trial, which has been under way for a month, will determine how much BP should pay in penalties under the federal Clean Water Act.
Meanwhile, the company faces another lawsuit. A group of 474 Galveston County residents filed a complaint last week seeking $1 billion in damages for a 2011 release of pollutants from a Texas refinery, the Houston Chronicle reported Tuesday. The lawsuit charges that a release of sulfur dioxide, methyl mercaptan and dimethyl disulfide in November and December 2011 lasted for several weeks and put area residents' health at risk.
BP sold the refinery in Texas City to Marathon Oil last year. The company already faces a lawsuit over a 2010 pollutant release.