Pressure is increasing on the U.S. government to ensure BP is held accountable for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The National Wildlife Federation has called on Attorney General Eric Holder to prevent the oil company from paying a reduced amount as published reports indicate a settlement figure less than the fines generated from federal penalties.
"We're hearing that there's been numbers that have been mentioned in the recent news reports that say that BP is considering settling somewhere between $15 billion and $18 billion," said David White, director of the federation's Gulf of Mexico Restoration Project.
The federation fears there won't be enough to repair the damage done to Gulf waters and wildlife.
Congress passed the RESTORE Act earlier this year to ensure at least 80 percent of fines collected from BP will go to restoring the Gulf. White said any settlement will have important implications.
"All of the people of the Gulf Coast have a stake in these negotiations and we think that they ought to disclose to the public what they're contemplating in terms of a settlement because it now affects people."
Recent evidence presented by the Department of Justice suggests BP was grossly negligent, which increases the Clean Water Act fines to more than $4,000 per barrel spilled. An estimated 4.1 million gallons of oil leaked into the Gulf during the Deepwater Horizon spill.