Today, Rep. Richmond issued the following statement in response to the proposed settlement between BP and the Department of Justice which includes fines of $4.5 billion and guilty pleas to 14 criminal counts. Under the proposed settlement, BP will pay a total of $2.394 billion to the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and $350 million to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS):
"I hope that the settlement of criminal charges will bring a small measure of closure to the families of those who perished that tragic day," said Rep. Richmond. "The fines and guilty pleas secured by the Department of Justice should send a clear message to those we entrust to drill off our shores to do so in a safe and prudent manner. Oil and gas exploration is safer today and I look forward to working with all stakeholders to make drilling safer and more efficient while continuing to reduce any environmental effects."
"I am pleased that a significant amount of the fines will be directed to the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation and the National Academy of Sciences," said Rep. Richmond. "I look forward to working with the NFWF and NAS to ensure that the money is spent in a timely and responsible manner to restore Louisiana's coastline and to better understand the effects of the spill on our environment and health.
"I commend the Attorney General's efforts to bring the responsible companies to justice and urge him to make certain that any settlement of the remaining civil penalties reflects the gravity of the harm by returning these penalties to areas that suffered most from this disaster. I'm also glad that he is traveling to New Orleans to announce the settlement. With the recent reports of questionable behavior inside the local U.S. Attorney's office, I hope that he is able to personally look into these allegations during his stay."