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Project on Government Oversight




How Much Will the Deepwater Horizon Spill Cost Taxpayers?

April 28, 2010 


Today the Coast Guard set fire to parts of an oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico to prevent the Deepwater Horizon rig's spill from drifting closer to Louisiana. A Slate Explainer points out that the oil recovered from the leaking oil well (at a rate of 42,000 gallons per day 5,000 barrels per day) off of the Louisiana coast can still be used. But one question that has yet to be answered* (and in fairness, to be asked): does BP still owe royalties to taxpayers for any of their natural resources that have been spilled and/or burned? Does it matter that BP opposed stricter safety rules for offshore drilling? Or that Food and Water Watch has raised concerns about the potential for a similar disaster, based on the allegations of "a whistleblower and former company contractor" that another platform "has been operating without a large percentage of the engineer-approved documents needed for it to operate safely"?

The Associated Press reports that industry officials have said that replacing the Deepwater Horizon will cost $700 million, and that BP is paying $6 million a day to contain the spill, and there are predictions that the cost of the disaster could easily exceed $1 billion. We don't yet know what the costs will be taxpayers. The Interior Department and Homeland Security Department announced a full investigation into the Deepwater Horizon rig incident yesterday.

Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is a nonpartisan independent watchdog that champions good government reforms. POGO's investigations into corruption, misconduct, and conflicts of interest achieve a more effective, accountable, open, and ethical federal government.

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