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Oil well penalties coming in handy

Our View -   Jan 10, 2013

It seems that the Gulf Coast is getting more and more revenue from penalties resulting from the BP oil spill. Transocean Ltd., owner of the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon rig that was leased to BP when its macombo well erupted off the Louisiana coast in 2010, has agreed to pay $1.4 billion in civil and criminal fines for its role in the oil spill.

And that is good. We need the money to help restore our coast, not only from the oil spill but also from the deterioration that has taken place along the coast from damage resulting from oil production operations.

Letís face it, over the years oil companies have dug canals to produce their products and not restored the land that would have preserved our environment. And for that, they should be responsible to make good what they have undone.

The money we are getting to help restore our coast is well deserved. Oil companies are mainly responsible for the destruction - BP, Transocean and others - and they should pay for it.

Of course, there are other reasons for deterioration along our coast such as dredging the Mississippi River and depositing the spoils offshore where they do no good in restoring our coast. It seems we should have learned better than that.

But if we are to make use of this new revenue for our coastal restoration, we need to use it as beneficially as possible. It can be used to pump silt from the river bottom into deteriorating wetlands to build them up and to shore up our barrier islands which can protect us when storms approach.

We are well aware of the needs of our coast. We should make use of that revenue to provide those needs.

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