Gulf of Mexico science and restoration will get another chunk of cash from a second settlement of federal charges related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Transocean Deepwater Inc., the company that operated the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig for oil giant BP, has agreed to pay $1.4 billion in civil and criminal fines and penalties for the spill, the U.S. Department of Justice announced today.
Transocean will pay a record $1 billion for violations of the Clean Water Act, 80% of which will be dedicated to economic and ecological restoration projects along the Gulf Coast under legislation approved last year by Congress.
The U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) will get $150 million from the payout to help fund an independent, 30-year Gulf Coast research program created last November under a similar settlement with BP. The Transocean payment will bring total funding for the effort to $500 million, and "today's legal action will complete funding for the program," NAS officials said in a statement.
Transocean will also provide $150 million to the U.S. National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) for ecological restoration projects along the Gulf. NFWF has already received $2.4 billion from the earlier BP settlement.
Both BP and Transocean are still facing further financial liability for the spill. Both companies will eventually be billed by the federal government for natural resource damages caused by the spill. And BP faces civil charges under the Clean Water Act that could produce fines totaling $5 billion to more than $20 billion, 80% of which would be dedicated to economic and ecological restoration along the Gulf Coast.