BP’s oil spill response costs reach $1.6B

GULF OF MEXICO — BP’s costs for responding to the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico have risen to $1.6 billion.

According to a company news release, that includes new $25-million grants the British oil giant has given to Florida, Alabama and Mississippi. It also includes the first $60 million for a project to build barrier islands off the Louisiana Coast. The estimate does not include future costs for scores of lawsuits already filed for damages.

BP is now siphoning off significant amounts of oil from its runaway well 5,000 feet underwater, but the next best chance for ending the spill won’t come until relief wells are completed in August. Already potentially more than 100 million gallons of crude have been expelled into the Gulf.

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