Gulf spill penalty bill not ready for prime time

“If it is delayed a few days, or it ends up being delayed, we will take it as it comes, but it is moving along well,” said Landrieu. Landrieu said Gulf Coast senators are coming to “final agreements.”

“Everybody is working very cooperatively,” she said. A spokesman for Vitter said lawmakers are working on “minor tweaks” and “fine tuning” the measure.

If the differences can indeed be resolved, the plan could represent a point of political agreement on the response to the BP oil spill, even as Senate lawmakers have been unable to advance drilling-safety and spill-liability legislation.

Steering what could be billions of dollars in Clean Water Act fines toward the Gulf region has White House support.

An Obama administration report on Gulf Coast restoration last year called on Congress to “dedicate a significant amount of any civil penalties obtained from parties responsible for the oil spill under the Clean Water Act to the recovery of the region that was damaged, and to those impacted by its effects.”

Landrieu said there is bipartisan buy-in for the concept, noting it has support from Republicans including Rep. John Mica (Fla.) who heads the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. She also said there is backing off Capitol Hill.

“Most of the stakeholder groups, the major environmental groups, feel very strongly about that, and we are very grateful to have their support,” Landrieu said, adding that there is industry support as well.