Clean Water Act Penalties

The BP oil disaster delivered a huge blow to America’s coast. Taking an enormous toll on Gulf of Mexico ecosystems and valuable wildlife populations and hitting hard commercial and recreational fishing interests, energy infrastructure and the tourism industry, its impact was felt nationwide. Under current law, BP and others responsible for the spill must pay Clean Water Act (CWA) penalties for each barrel of oil spilled into the gulf. Without direct action, these penalties would have gone into the federal treasury, but thanks to the efforts of legislative champions in the gulf, conservation groups, business organizations and others, Congress passed the RESTORE Act in June. This legislation directs 80% of Clean Water Act penalties from the 2010 BP oil disaster to Gulf Coast restoration.

Find out more about the RESTORE Act.

A bipartisan national poll conducted this spring showed that 83 percent of voters nationwide support dedicating the Gulf oil spill penalties to restoring the Mississippi River Delta and Gulf Coast, including:

  • 90 percent of Democrats
  • 76 percent of Republicans
  • 84 percent of Independents, and
  • 78 percent of those who say they agree with the Tea Party movement.

It is clear that the vast majority of Americans support BP's fines returning to the Gulf Coast for restoration.