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BP Oil Disaster Trial Looms

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 21 Feb 2013 05:59pm | comments

Conservation groups are urging the U.S. Justice Department to stand its ground when it comes to any possible settlement agreement with oil giant BP. MPB's Lawayne Childrey reports how those representing Mississippi and the four other Gulf coast states are calling for the toughest of penalties.

With a Monday trial date looming, time is running out for BP and the U.S. Department of Justice to reach a settlement. But  Howard Page with the STEPS Coalition of social justice organizers based in Biloxi, says even at this late hour a settlement is still possible as long as the offer is fair and just.

"And by that we want the people who were harmed to be compensated and for BP to recognize that it wasn't just an accident that it was something that they could have avoided had they been more responsible. I mean 11 people lost their lives  as well as you know one of our most precious resources the Gulf of Mexico was harmed greatly."

During a telephone press conference yesterday Brian Moore, Legislative Director for the National Audubon Society had strong words for the parties involved.

"It's been over a thousand days since the Deepwater Horizon disaster begin and we're still waiting for BP to be held accountable for the damage done to the eco system. And we still don't know the full environmental impacts. This was the largest single environmental disaster ever seen in our nation. And there's a simple rule that we all should be reminded of.  We've all seen it posted in stores throughout our lives which is you broke it you bought it."

That's why Moore along with members of the National Wildlife Federation and other environmental groups are urging the Justice Department to hold BP fully accountable for this disaster.

"This means not negotiating and not letting them off easy. The maximum fines under the clean water act and other violations are what the department of justice should seek and demand. It's what the nation expects and deserves, we should settle for no less. Otherwise there isn't true justice and those responsible aren't made truly accountable for what they have done."

Even if the department of justice and BP officials reach a settlement the company could still face fines under the clean water act ranging from 5 to in excess of 21 billion dollars based on government estimates.  Lawayne Childrey, MPB News.

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