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Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, Remarks on the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Complaint, As Prepared

As prepared for delivery.

Today is an important day for all of those affected by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. Since April we have worked diligently on the response and recovery efforts for the people of the Gulf Coast. Now we take an important step in ensuring that responsibility to the affected communities is met.

President Obama has said from the beginning that the responsible parties in this spill would be held accountable. Today we are taking formal action to hold BP and other responsible parties accountable for the impact this spill had on our environment and the livelihoods of those who depend on the Gulf’s ecosystem.

This is about getting a fair deal for a region that suffered enormous consequences from this disaster. And it’s also about securing the future of the Gulf Coast. Ensuring accountability strengthens our ongoing efforts help the Gulf Coast communities get their lives and livelihood back on track.

The government's complaint seeks civil penalties against those responsible for the spill and will lay the foundation for securing what is needed to restore the Gulf.

As I said, this focus on responsibility comes alongside our response and recovery efforts. As we speak, the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force is forming a strategy to help cut through red tape and align the efforts of people working to address the long decline of the Gulf Coast.

State and local governments, the private sector, Tribal groups, scientists and our citizens have great plans for dealing with the effects of the spill and taking on the long term challenges. We want to help coordinate these plans for comprehensive and coordinated mobilization.

Finally, let me just say how grateful I am to Attorney General Holder and the Department of Justice for their work on this critical step, and to the President for giving me a chance to serve the region I call home.

We are proud to be involved in this effort. Enforcement of our environmental laws is one of the most important roles EPA plays in protecting human health and the environment. The BP case is no exception.

As someone who grew up on the Gulf Coast, this effort combines my life's passion – a healthy environment for our children and grandchildren – with the opportunity to give something back to the region that shaped and nurtured me.

Being a native, I also know that the challenges facing this ecosystem go back much further than the Deepwater Horizon spill. We are here to respond to that single devastating event. However, a full restoration will not be possible unless we address the environmental problems that have plagued this region for many years.

Today’s complaint is part of our multi-pronged, long-term plan to help the Gulf. The needs of the people, the environment, and the economy are deeply connected. We will continue to consider all three in the work ahead. We’re proud to be part of moving this effort from emergency response to recovery and responsibility.

Thank you very much.