Boxer: Highway deal will include measure to funnel oil-spill penalty money to Gulf

The provision was included in the Senate-passed version of the transportation bill. A framework version of the measure was included in a short-term transportation funding extension approved by the House last month.

A bipartisan group of Gulf Coast lawmakers has been pushing for passage of the legislation for months. The lawmakers hope to ensure that their states, not the federal Treasury, receive the majority of money from penalties imposed on BP and the other companies deemed responsible for last year’s massive oil spill.

The legislation, known as the RESTORE Act, mandates that 80 percent of Clean Water Act penalties eventually imposed on BP or other companies deemed responsible for the spill go to five Gulf states.

BP and the other companies deemed responsible for the spill face billions of dollars in penalties. If BP is deemed negligent under the Clean Water Act by the courts, the company will have to pay $1,000 for every barrel of oil spilled into the Gulf. If the courts find that BP was grossly negligent, the company will have to pay $4,200 per barrel.

The 2010 oil spill spewed about 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf, meaning BP could face fines ranging from $5.4 billion to $21.1 billion.