Washington, DC –
U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Water and Wildlife Subcommittee, held a hearing today reviewing damages to natural resources as a result of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster. The formal assessment process is critical for holding the responsible parties accountable for the environmental damage they have caused and will help determine the scope and scale of restoration work.
“BP and its partners are responsible for repairing the environmental destruction they have caused, in addition to the economic devastation.
But if we can’t trust BP to tell us how much oil had been leaking into the Gulf of Mexico for three months, why should we trust them when it comes to assessing the damage they have done to our environment?”
asked Senator Cardin at the Water and Wildlife Subcommittee hearing. “We can’t afford to have the same incomplete approach to assessment when it comes to cleaning our waters and restoring our fishing stocks or bird populations or any of the other critical ecosystem restoration tasks that lie ahead.
“If we are going to get the restoration work done right and if we are going to hold BP and its partners accountable for the true extent of the damage they’ve caused, then we need an accurate and complete assessment.
The answers developed through a Natural Resource Damage Assessment determine the size of the bill presented to BP and its partners.
They shape the scale and scope of the restoration work done to repair the damage.
This is a legal process, conducted by federal and state agencies, to identify how natural resources have been injured, the best methods for restoring them, and the type and amount of restoration needed to compensate the public.
“The first priority in this disaster has been to stop the flow of oil from well.
We’re heartened by recent progress and hope the well will soon be sealed for good.
We must ensure our responders have the resources and organization they need to remove the oil that’s in the water and to protect the Gulf coast.
But even when the oil is removed to the extent possible, it will not be enough to fully restore water and wildlife or compensate the public for the loss of these natural resources.”