Today U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier ruled that BP Plc acted with gross negligence in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster. Barbier's ruling also faulted Transocean Ltd. and Halliburton Co. in the disaster, but to a lesser degree than BP. 

"Now that BP's role in the disaster has been clearly identified, it is time for the State of Florida to put together a restoration plan for Florida's Gulf Coast," said Julie Wraithmell, Audubon Florida Director of Wildlife Conservation.   

As required by the RESTORE Act, 80% of all penalty fines collected from the 2010 Gulf oil spill disaster under the Clean Water Act must be directed to protect the natural resources and economies of the Gulf Coast. A significant portion of those funds will come to Florida. Today's ruling makes the planning for the use of those funds a priority.

Audubon has urged state, federal and local government agencies to use RESTORE Act funds to protect coastal birds and wildlife and their habitats.    

"Restoration of the Gulf ecosystem should be driven by science that identifies threats and provides solutions," Wraithmell said.

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