By Vicki Needham - 06/22/10 02:50 AM EDT
Federal officials sent their third bill, for $51.4 million, to BP on Monday for the government's response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, bringing the total cost to nearly $123 million.
So far, BP and other responsible parties have paid the federal government back for the first two bills, totaling nearly $71 million. That money is borrowed from the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund, which has a roughly $1.6 billion balance.
The U.S. Coast Guard is responsible for administering the trust fund to ensure that the groups responsible for oil spills pay the affected individuals and communities.
BP, which is legally responsible for efforts to stop the oil leak, reduce the spread of oil, protect the shoreline and mitigate damages, as well as long-term recovery efforts, said Monday it has spent $2 billion for the costs of containment, cleanup and for the drilling of relief oil wells.