BP, Government Probing Ecosystem Damage from Oil Spill

Thursday, Sep 30, 2010  |  Updated 10:30 AM CDT
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BP, Government Probing Ecosystem Damage from Oil Spill

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BRETON AND CHANDELEUR SOUNDS - MAY 05: Orange colored chemical dispersant is seen in the water as it is used to help with the massive oil spill on May 5, 2010 in Breton and Chandeleur sounds off the coast of Louisiana. Oil is still leaking out of the Deepwater Horizon wellhead at a estimated rate of 1,000-5,000 barrels a day. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Federal and state government agencies and BP have entered a new and important phase in determining how much damage has been done to the ecosystem by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

On Wednesday, the government and BP said they had started to determine how much money it will take to repair the ecosystem damage.

This is part of a legal process known as a natural resources damage assessment, or NRDA. A damage assessment is done after an oil driller causes damage to a public resource.

In the three months before a temporary cap stemmed the flow from BP's blown-out well, as much as 172 million gallons of oil and millions of cubic feet of natural gas spewed into Gulf waters.

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