The exact amount of the fine has yet to be set, but the new ruling could mean a boost in efforts to help affected wildlife in the area. If BP does eventually pay up, it's likely that a large portion of the fines will go toward sorely-needed wildlife and coastal restoration. Under the RESTORE Act, passed by Congress in 2012, 80 percent of fines paid by BP and other parties are invested directly into areas affected by the disaster.
"This means that BP will finally be forced to pay what it owes to fix what it broke," said Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold in an emailed statement. "Is is a long-awaited step toward healing and recovery for the Gulf Coast, its birds and its people. BP said it was above the law; Judge Barbier said the law applies to everyone, even multinational giants."
Jeff Pierce, a litigation fellow with the Animal Legal Defense Fund, noted that while this is a big step forward, the battle for animals facing the threat of pollution is far from won. He told The Dodo in an email: