FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – On April 20, 2010, the U.S. faced the worst offshore spill in its history as oil from the BP offshore drilling site spewed onto the Gulf of Mexico.
Two years down the road, the largest international oceans conservation group Oceana will hold a conference Friday at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park to highlight the risk of expanded offshore oil drilling to the east coast and to call for a clean energy future.
Oceana will display a model offshore wind farm, complete with dozens of three-foot tall spinning offshore wind turbine replicas, demonstrating the ability to harness clean renewable energy from our oceans, actions that will decrease our dependence on fossil fuels, protect our coastal ecosystems and communities, and help our economy grow.
"As a member of President Obama's National Ocean Council, I know how critical it is to protect our nation's oceans," said Broward County Vice Mayor Kristin Jacobs. "Our oceans and coastlines are tremendous economic generators responsible for hundreds of thousands of jobs, and they're some of our greatest natural treasures. We need to be vigilant to protect against another tragic, completely avoidable disaster like Deepwater Horizon."
BP has repeatedly said it accepts some responsibility for the spill and will pay what it owes, while urging other companies to pay their share.
The company created a $20 billion fund to resolve many claims out of court.
The Gulf Coast Claims Facility paid out more than $6 billion from the fund before a court-supervised administrator took over the claims process on March 8.
BP said it has spent more than $22 billion on spill response expenses, including more than $8.1 billion in payments to people, businesses and government entities.
On Wednesday, BP and a team of plaintiffs' attorneys presented a federal judge in New Orleans with the proposed terms of a class-action settlement that would resolve more than 100,000 claims by people and businesses who blamed economic losses over the spill.
They asked the judge to give preliminary approval to the deal that would be one of the largest class-action settlements ever. BP PLC estimated it will pay about $7.8 billion to resolve these claims, but the settlement doesn't have a cap.
The agreement doesn't resolve any claims by the Gulf states or the Justice Department, which launched civil and criminal probes following the spill.
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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