Skip to Content

Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster

The Gulf Coast’s economy and environment were hard hit by the BP oil disaster. Though no oil reached the shores of the Tampa Bay area, our small businesses, hotels and tourism industry suffered. I am committed to restoring our environment and making sure our businesses recuperate from the devastation.

That is why one of my top priorities this congressional term was to direct 80 percent of the fines and penalties to be paid by BP for violations of the Clean Water Act to restoring the Gulf Coast.  In June, Gulf Coast states and the Gulf of Mexico achieved a major victory when the U.S. House of Representatives passed the RESTORE Act.

I am proud that parts of my bill, the Gulf of Mexico Economic and Environmental Restoration Act were included in the final version of RESTORE.  This legislation ensures that our small-business owners, our fishermen, our tourism industry and others impacted by the disaster get the help they need.

Drilling too close to shore imperils our economy, environment and security. This disaster in the Gulf of Mexico proves that oil drilling should not be allowed even one mile closer to the west coast of Florida.  It is simply not worth the risk.

-Kathy Castor

Force BP to Pay the Billions More it Owes - Palm Beach Post
For those who wanted the government to crush BP, the criminal settlement from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill is unsatisfying. For those who correctly have focused on repairing damage from the country’s worst spill, the settlement is encouraging.

BP Settlement Update
Click here for the latest news regarding the BP Settlements

House Passes RESTORE Act to Help Gulf Coast

June 29, 2012 - Gulf Coast states and the Gulf of Mexico achieved a major victory today when the U.S. House of Representatives passed the RESTORE Act, which directs 80 percent of the fines and penalties collected under the Clean Water Act directly to the recovery and restoration of the Gulf Coast... More

Castor marks two year anniversary of BP Oil Disaster
April 18, 2012 - On the second anniversary of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, Congresswoman Kathy Castor is renewing her call for the Justice Department to enter a legal settlement... More

Reps. Waxman and Markey join call to Justice Department for settlement
Feb. 29, 2012 - Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA), Ranking Member House Committee on Natural Resources, and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), Ranking Member Committee on Energy and Commerce joined Castor today in sending a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder that follows Castor’s primary push for a comprehensive Gulf investment strategy.  Read the letter

Letter to Justice Department
Feb. 22, 2012 - Calls for settlement with BP to provide for the restoration and recovery of the Gulf following the BP oil disaster Read the Letter

Castor Files Amendment to Transportation Bill to Protect Jobs and Florida’s Economy

Feb. 14, 2012 - Today U.S. House Rules Committee will consider an amendment filed by U.S. Representative Kathy Castor to stop the harmful expansion of offshore oil drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico... More

Letter to Speaker Boehner
Feb. 9, 2012 - Calling on Speaker Boehner to protect Florida’s economy and remove harmful provisions from the Transportation bill that would expand offshore oil drilling. Read the letter

Letter to Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

Dec. 6, 2011 - Regarding recommended improvements to the RESTORE Act.  Read the Letter

USF Group Receives Research Money
Aug. 30, 2011 -  The marine research conducted by the University of South Florida and other Florida universities is critical to understanding the scope of the damage caused by the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster. ... More

Castor Proposes Amendment to Clean Water Act to Help Gulf Coast Recover from BP Disaster
July 12, 2011 - Rep. Kathy Castor has proposed an amendment today to the Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011 that would direct 80 percent of the fines and penalties collected under the Act as a result of the Deepwater Horizon disaster to Gulf Coast recovery and restoration efforts.

Castor Statement on BP Research by Florida Scientists
May 26, 2011 - "The vitally important findings of Florida university researchers provide a window into the environmental damage caused by the BP Deepwater Horizon blowout.  The research would not have been possible without these hard-fought, expedited research funds... More

Ch. 10 Florida won't join federal lawsuit against oil rig owner
April 19, 2011 -
Castor says, "To leave one stone unturned, to not be as aggressive as possible against BP, Transocean and the responsible parties is very troubling."  Watch the Video

Rep. Castor's Statement Regarding Gov. Scott's Decision Not to File Against Transocean
April 19, 2011 - Congresswoman Kathy Castor released the following statement today regarding Gov. Scott’s decision not to file against Tr... More

Long-haul, costly recovery for ecology (St. Petersburg Times editorial)
April 18, 2011 - Congress also should approve legislation by U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, that would dedicate 80 percent of any fines collected from BP under the Clean Water Act toward gulf restoration... More

No Pass for Oil-Spill Culprits (Tampa Tribune editorial)
April 14, 2011 - Gov. Rick Scott apparently would rather make nice with oil officials than make sure Florida is justly compensated for the devastating losses it suffered during last year's Deepwater Horizon oil spill. ... More

Castor Urges Gov. Scott, AG Bondi to File Claim Against BP
April 11, 2011 - Congresswoman Kathy Castor again urged Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi to expeditiously prepare a claim in federal district court against BP/ Transocean for State of Florida damages suffered during last year’s Deepwater Horizon oil disaster... More

Castor heads federal caucus to protect Gulf - Sarasota Herald Tribune
March 10, 2011
- Members of Congress from states on the Gulf of Mexico are forming their own bipartisan caucus to address economic, environmental and other issues of shared concern... More

Castor to Co-Chair Gulf Coast Caucus
March 9, 2011 - Congresswoman Kathy Castor announced today that she and Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise have created the bipartisan Gulf Coast Caucus to help address emergencies, and discuss legislation and policy affecting the Gulf Coast. ... More

Oil Commission Releases Report
Jan. 11, 2011 - A bill proposed by Congresswoman Kathy Castor would direct the bulk of the penalties to be paid by BP for the Deepwater Horizon disaster to the economic and environmental recovery of the Gulf Coast. That is in line with a recommendation made today by the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling, co-chaired by former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham of Florida. ... More

No New Drilling in Eastern Gulf
Dec. 1, 2010 -
The White House obviously learned lessons from the BP oil disaster. Drilling for oil off of Florida’s coast poses a threat to Florida’s economy, jobs and environment. Our small businesses and hotel owners are still suffering from the devastation left behind by the BP blowout. ... More

Castor Announces Gulf of Mexico Economic and Environmental Recovery Act
Nov. 22, 2010 - Today, Congresswoman Kathy Castor announced the filing of H.R.6434, the Gulf of Mexico Economic and Environmental Restoration Act of 2010. The Act directs that the bulk of the fines and penalties to be paid by BP for the Deepwater Horizon disaster shall be devoted to the economic and environmental recovery of the Gulf Coast. ... More

Castor statement on Secretary Salazar's deepwater drilling announcement
Oct. 12, 2010 - Congresswoman Kathy Castor released the following statement today regarding Secretary Salazar’s announcement to reopend... More

Gulf Coast Claims to be Considered
Oct. 4, 2010 - This is great news for our hardworking small-business owners and tourism leaders on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Although the Tampa Bay area has had no oil on its beaches, our hotels, restaurants and fishermen have been affected nonetheless. ... More

Castor's Statement on Gulf Coast Restoration Plan
Sep. 28, 2010 - The fines and penalties to be paid by BP for its Deepwater Horizon blowout disaster must be directed to Gulf Coast restoration and recovery, and I will get right to work drafting legislation to implement that proposal as soon as possible. ... More
Read the report

BP Spent $93 Million in Advertising From April-July 2010
Sep. 1, 2010
- In a letter to Congresswoman Kathy Castor today, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Waxman and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chairman Stupak released findings of how much BP has spent on advertising since the oil disaster..." More

Castor's Statement on Environmental Reviews
Aug. 17, 2010
- Congresswoman Kathy Castor released the following statement regarding President Obama’s decision to no longer allow new deepwater drilling projects to go forward without environmental reviews: "This announcement by the Obama Administration is a good first step. ..." More

Gulf of Mexico Restoration Plan Recommendations
Aug. 13, 2010
- Congresswoman Kathy Castor wrote a letter to Secretary Mabus summarizing concerns and recommendations for Gulf Coast Restoration following the town hall meeting in St. Petersburg.  Click here to read the letter

House Approves Oil Disaster Legislation
July 30, 2010 - The oil disaster legislation that passed the U.S. House of Representatives today will hold the oil industry accountable for disaster cleanup, strengthen oversight of the oil drilling industry, restore the Gulf Coast and eliminate the current $75 million limit on what an oil company can be required to pay small businesses and individuals for losses they incur as a result of an oil disaster. ... More

Castor Proposes Measures to Improve Oil Disaster Response

July 29, 2010 - Congresswoman Kathy Castor has proposed four amendments to the oil disaster response package, which is expected to be considered by the U.S. House of Representatives this week. ... More

Castor Steps Up Pressure on BP

July 26, 2010 - Today, Congresswoman Kathy Castor is demanding stronger action be taken by BP in order to alleviate Florida’s damaged tourism, job market and economic recovery and criticizing BP for its extravagant corporate image advertising campaign. ... More

Castor Hails Increased Safety Measures in Blowout Prevention Act
July 15, 2010 - Congresswoman Kathy Castor today helped pass out of her Energy and Commerce Committee the Blowout Prevention Act, which will strengthen regulation and oversight of well design and safety equipment. ... More

Castor visits Good Day Tampa Bay - Ch. 13
July 12, 2010 - Rep. Castor discusses the governor's call for a special session to constitutionally ban drilling off the coast of Florida in the wake of the spill in the Gulf of Mexico... Watch the video

  Castor appears on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360
June 30, 2010 - Rep. Castor discusses research efforts from the University of South Florida and resistance from BP.

Castor Grills BP CEO Hayward
June 17, 2010 - "BP elevated profits over safety. From the testimony I heard today from Mr. Hayward, I am convinced BP was blinded by profits, much to the detriment of the victims of this disaster ... More;   Watch the video

Castor appears on C-SPAN's Washington Journal
June 17, 2010 - Energy & Commerce Committee Member Rep. Castor talks about the latest developments in the Gulf Oil spill, including how the spill is affecting Florida and the Tampa and Tampa Bay areas in her district, as well as the legal liability facing BP... Watch the video

Castor's Statement Regarding President Obama's Oval Office Address On Oil Disaster
June 15, 2010
- President Obama is rightfully concerned about jobs, small businesses and the harm caused to Florida’s improving economy by BP’s oil disaster. BP must bear full financial responsibility for the economic and environmental impact, not our small businesses or taxpayers. ... More

Florida Universities to Receive $10 Million from BP for Research
June 11, 2010 - Florida university researchers will receive $10 million from BP to fund the ongoing academic research into the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Congresswoman Kathy Castor announced today. ... More

Castor Testifies Before Committee Regarding Oil Liability; Meets With BP Executives in Her Office
June 9, 2010  
-  In testimony today before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Congresswoman Kathy Castor told members that Florida’s businesses are suffering as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster and urged Congress to eliminate the liability cap on oil companies...More

Castor to Meet with BP Vice President
June 8, 2010  -  “USF's findings of deepwater oil plumes are of grave concern to the tourism and fishing industries, which rely on clean beaches and clean water for their livelihoods. We must hold BP accountable for this environmental and economic disaster... More

Castor Statement on President's Oil Remarks
May 27, 2010  -  “For all intents and purposes, bringing rigs closer to Florida’s beaches appears to be dead. The Deepwater Horizon disaster has confirmed my position that domestic drilling is too risky a proposition for our economy and our environment... More

Castor Files Bill to Permanently Prohibit Drilling Off Gulf Coast and Straits of Florida
May 20, 2010
 - Congresswoman Kathy Castor re-filed her bill today entitled the Florida Coastal Protection Act, which would prohibit oil drilling, leasing, preleasing and any related activities off the Gulf coast and the Straits of Florida. Castor filed the bill to ban oil drilling and leasing activities permanently...More

Castor Works for More Funding for USF Oil Research

May 17, 2010  
-   The successful mission of the University of South Florida’s Weatherbird II, and the ongoing gusher, highlight the need for a commitment to long-term monitoring, data gathering and research, Congresswoman Kathy Castor said today. To protect and prepare Florida from the impact of oil in our wa...More

Castor Exacts Pledge from BP to Talk with Florida Officials

May 12, 2010  - Congresswoman Kathy Castor exacted a pledge from BP’s president today that he would work with her and other high-level Florida officials to address the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster on the state and its hard-working residents. Castor is deeply concerned about the repercussions of ...More

Castor Questions Oil Executives About Gulf Disaster

May 4, 2010  - Congresswoman Kathy Castor questioned BP, Transocean and Halliburton executives and engineers today at a closed-door briefing regarding the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf.  Castor asked questions about plugging the leaks, safety equipment, the number of rigs BP has in the Gulf and Halliburto...More

New York Times.  “Some Lessons From the Oil Spill in the Gulf” By Kathy Castor
May 1, 2010 -
To the Editor:
The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig (front page, April 30) is a stark reminder that drilling for oil too close to Florida’s coastline imperils Florida’s economy, environment and security. This disastrous event should alter the Obama administration’s plan to bring oil rigs closer to Florida’s coastline. ... More

Castor Statement on Oil Drilling
April 30, 2010  - “While I applaud the White House for saying there will be no domestic drilling in new areas until there is an adequate review of what happened in the Deepwater Horizon disaster, we need to go even further. The Administration must completely rethink the latest proposal to bring oil rigs closer to the...More

Castor's Statement on Offshore Drilling Proposal
Mar 31, 2010  - Congresswoman Kathy Castor released the following statement regarding President Obama’s proposal to study parts of the eastern Gulf for expanded leases:   “Drilling for oil off of Florida’s west coast beaches would be a serious threat to Florida’s economy and jobs. Our long-term economic health is... More

Loop Current

Sarasota Herald Tribune. “Florida Widens Its Oil Spill Watch” By Dale White
May 4, 2010 "Robert Weisberg, an oceanographer with the University of South Florida's College of Marine Science, is tracking the spill's possible movements. He thinks that the Panhandle, the Florida Keys and the Atlantic coast are at greater risk than Tampa Bay.
Weisberg said the slick could enter the Loop Current about 125 miles west of the Gulf coast. He was reluctant to speculate precisely when, but said it could be in several days.
The Loop Current is a swift current that extends north from the Yucatan into the Gulf, bends south away from the Gulf coast, then straight into the Florida Keys and into the Gulf Stream going up the Atlantic coast..." More


Florida Department of Environmental Protection - Deepwater Horizon Response Page
Up to date information on response actions and impacts to the state of Florida

To volunteer, call 1-866-448-5816

To report oiled wildlife, call 1-866-557-1401.  Messages will be checked hourly.

To report spill related damage, please call 1-800-440-0858

For more information about validated environmental air and water sampling results, visit

To file a claim, call BP's helpline at 1-800-440-0858.  For those who have already pursued the BP claims process and are not satisfied with BP's resolution, please call the Coast Guard at 1-800-280-7118.

To submit your vessel as a vessel of opportunity skimming system: (281)366-5511