According to a recent news article put out by the JURIST online archives, BP is paying 18.7 billion dollars in restitution and penalties due to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The settlement, considered to be one of the largest in US history, is an addition to the previous payment of $43.8 billion they had to pay in penalties and clean up fees. The settlement sum will be split between the Clean Water Act ($12.8 B) ,and the rest ($4.9 B) will be distributed among the states that were affected by the spill.
Despite these penalties, a report filed by the U. S Public Interest Research Group is claiming that BP could benefit from this settlement once it files taxes at the end of the year. The Federal tax law does not prevent BP (or any other company) from treating the ecosystem restoration pay out as a business expense, which means that they can get a tax break on any money that isn’t used to pay penalties. Phineas Baxandall, an analyst for tax and budget policy, believes that BP should be held accountable for their actions, and in no way should they shift this burden to taxpayers. In order to ensure this does not happen, Public Interest Research Group is pleading the federal judge to make these court documents public, and to incorporate specific language that will not allow BP to get tax breaks from this settlement.
The devastating 2010 spill has had major negative impacts on the ecosystem and families surrounding the Gulf, however many environmentalists believe that this settlement is a positive step towards restoration and helping out the communities whose livelihood was seriously hurt. Shortly after the spill, the US president appointed a committee that could answer questions, gather data and devise a plan for reconstruction. Their jobs will be much more intense now that the resources are in place.
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