Energy giant BP agreed Thursday to spend $1 billion this year for an array of cleanup projects in the Gulf of Mexico, bidding to speed environmental recovery from last year's massive oil spill while paring down its own liability for the nation's largest offshore oil spill.
The agreement between BP, the federal government and the five Gulf states oiled by the spill sets into motion years of work restoring natural resources. BP and the other companies involved in the 206-million-gallon spill face billions of dollars in fines for long-term restoration.
"This milestone agreement will allow us to jump-start restoration," Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said, according to
Lamar McKay, president of BP America, said that the company was not legally obligated to make such payments until the full assessment was complete, but that financing restoration projects would speed healing in the gulf.
"BP believes early restoration will result in identified improvements to wildlife, habitat and related recreational uses in the gulf and our voluntary commitment to that process is the best way to get restoration projects moving as soon as possible," Mr. McKay said,