WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said today that she will move to steer a significant portion of federal fines leveled against BP for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill to Louisiana and other affected states.
Boxer, who chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee, made the comments at a hearing today on Capitol Hill.
Louisiana Senators David Vitter (R) and Mary Landrieu (D), spoke at the hearing and said they have been working together on legislation to ensure that 80 percent of the expected billions of dollars in fines will go to Gulf Coast states.
Vitter and Landrieu also said they will seek an end to President Barack Obama's moratorium on issuing drilling permits in the Gulf.
President Obama has already endorsed legislation seeking to give Gulf States 80 percent of the fines levied against BP. Louisiana officials are adamant that, of the Gulf States, Louisiana endured the most hardship and should received the bulk of the earmarked funds.
Recently, Louisiana's congressional delegation criticized BP for allegedly going back on a promise to pay the state $12 million to restore oyster beds that were damaged or killed entirely from fresh water from the Mississippi River into marshlands.
Governor Bobby Jindal recently stated that Louisiana will divert funds from existing departments to pay for the oyster beds and send BP an invoice later.
Also speaking at the hearing were Democrat Bob Graham and Republican William Reilly, the co-chairs of the White House Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
Graham and Reilly issued a series of recommendations for improving off-shore drilling safety, stating that BP's inadequate response to the oil spill was a sign of "systemic" flaws in the oil industry.