BP Targets Secret Government Documents on Oil Spill Estimates
According to the government’s final estimate delivered Aug. 2, 2010, 4.9 million barrels of oil spilled from the broken riser pipe of the Deepwater Horizon during the 87 days the well gushed into the Gulf of Mexico. That estimate accounted for a 10 percent variation based on a collaboration of scientists from various institutions and disciplines.
More recent federal documents have placed the estimated spill at 4.1 million barrels.
BP agreed on March 2, 2012, to pay about $7.8 million to cover personal injuries and other damages from the oil spill.
But that settlement does not address the fines BP will still face for oil pollution under the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts.
The basic fine BP will face under the Clean Water Act is $1,100 per barrel of oil. If the court finds gross negligence, however, that penalty can go as high as $4,300 per barrel of oil, or $17.6 billion, using the recent estimate of 4.1 million spilled barrels.