(MOBILE, Ala.) - Three months after the RESTORE Act passed, congressmen are concerned BP and the Department of Justice are trying to get around the legislation which directs millions, and possibly billions, of dollars in oil spill fines to the Gulf Coast.
“It’s outrageous to think this might be happening,” Rep. Jo Bonner (R-Alabama) told Local 15. “This is an affront to everyone who’s worked so hard to get the RESTORE Act passed.”
Bonner said there are reports of “back room, closed door” negotiations between the DOJ and BP regarding a global settlement, which would “provide a financial bonanza to BP in the form of millions of dollars in tax relief.” According to Bonner, some of the penalties would be added under the Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA), which would reduce the amount of money the Gulf Coast gets because the RESTORE Act is centered around the Clean Water Act rather than NRDA.
Bonner along with six other Gulf Coast congressmen wrote a “strongly-worded” letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Thursday, expressing concern “in the strongest possible terms”.
“This would be hypocrisy at its worst if President Obama, who has blasted Republicans for being puppets of ‘big oil’, ends up giving the company responsible for the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history a major tax write-off just weeks before the November 6 election,” Bonner said.