Conservation groups represented by the Mississippi River Delta Restoration Campaign are tweeting from Judge Carl Barbier's courthouse today. For much is at stake as the second phase of the BP civil trial gets underway.
The phase will determine how much BP will have to pay in fines for the spill that began in April, 2010 and wasn't halted until July of that year. Generous and controversial amounts of the dispersant Corexit were also used to keep the oil from flowing further ashore. Results of that controversial "solution" are proving to be highly toxic for the Gulf of Mexico, as well as for marine life, wildlife and human residents.
Today issues in a phase to reveal just how much oil actually flowed into the Gulf. BP appears to have downplayed the amount, but groups like the National Wildlife Federation and others call foul. The true amount will determine what the oil giant must pay in Clean Water Act penalties.
Three statements were released by Mississippi River Delta Restoration today:
David Muth, director of Mississippi River Delta Restoration at National Wildlife Federation, said:
The harm from the Gulf oil disaster is done – those marshes and beaches are contaminated, and only time can heal those wounds. What needs to follow is restoring the system, restoring the capacity of the delta to build new marsh, nourish beaches, and provide clean habitat for new generations of pelicans, dolphins and sea turtles. We need the responsible parties to stop evading responsibility, stop shifting blame, and to pay up so that Louisiana can implement the critical near term projects from its Coastal Master Plan.
Steve Cochran, director of the Mississippi River Delta Restoration Program at Environmental Defense Fund, said:
Creating a healthy, sustainable coast is critical to the protection of nationally significant economic sectors along that coast – the largest port system in North America, critical energy infrastructure and essential fisheries. Timely resolution of this case is critical, because in Louisiana, the proceeds from this case will go directly to creating that healthy, sustainable coast.
And Dr. Doug Meffert, executive director at Audubon Louisiana, said:
Healthy wetlands and barrier islands are critical to defend coastal communities from hurricanes, like Katrina. There’s urgency to restore these vital ecosystems. Restoration will empower our people and protect our way of life.
Today, a new video timeline of the spill and its effects on wildlife and the environment, is playing on a continuous loop on a 16-foot, high-def LED billboard outside the Poydras Street courthouse.
The public is welcome to attend the trial. Just bring your ID. The courthouse is at 500 Poydras at Camp St. in New Orleans.
To follow the Mississippi River Delta Restoration Program's Tweets at trial, follow them on Twitter: @RestoreDelta
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