In this June 4, 2010 file photo, a worker picks up blobs of oil with absorbent snare on Queen Bess Island at the mouth of Barataria Bay near the Gulf of Mexico in Plaquemines Parish, La. U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier ruled Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014, in New Orleans, La., that BP acted recklessly and bears most of the responsibility for the oil spill. The ruling exposes BP to about $18 million in civil fines under the Clean Water Act. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
In this Friday, June 4, 2010 file picture, tourists watch as workers clean oil from the sand along a 700-yard long strip of oil from the BP Deepwater Horizon rig that washed up on the beach in Gulf Shores, Ala. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
In this Friday, June 4, 2010 file picture, tourists watch as workers clean oil from the sand along a 700-yard long strip of oil from the BP Deepwater Horizon rig that washed up on the beach in Gulf Shores, Ala. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

Deborah Barfield Berry and Ledyard King, USA TODAY

 
WASHINGTON (USA Today) – Five years after the massive BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, Gulf Coast communities are still waiting for the billions promised to help them recover from the nation’s worst environmental disaster.

Local officials and environmentalists from the five affected states — Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas — have taken steps to identify which projects would be financed with fine money paid by BP.

But they’re still waiting for those funds, on hold until a federal court in New Orleans decides exactly what the company should pay.

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