Amid efforts to settle civil and criminal charges stemming from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the U.S. Department of Justice has proposed a deal that would give the federal government more control over the distribution of billions of dollars in fines paid by BP. If approved, the settlement would take significant authority over how those fines are dispersed away from the Gulf states impacted by the oil spill. Under the proposed settlement, a bigger chunk of money would be directed toward Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) and the amount of civil penalties faced for violation of the Clean Water Act would be reduced. Fines assessed under NRDA are handled through the U.S. Treasury Department and have stringent guidelines regarding their use for environmental restoration; these fines are also tax deductible. Clean Water Act fines would be primarily directed to the Gulf states, which would allow communities affected by the oil spill greater power over use of the money; Clean Water Act fines are not tax deductible. Although the settlement is just one proposal among many offered by the federal government in recent weeks, this particular settlement has significant incentives for BP, and it has caused concern that some Gulf states—including Alabama—could be shortchanged when BP finally pays. As the Nov. 8 fairness hearing date for the proposed settlement regarding consolidated cases related to the oil spill approaches, the Mobile, Alabama, attorneys at Long & Long are offering free case consultations to business owners, property owners and others who suffered damages due to the oil spill. We are currently reviewing claims related to:
Time to join the settlement is running out. Please contact Long & Long for your free case evaluation today if you lost income or experienced property damage due to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.