Oil Spill

BP agrees to $20 billion settlement with DOJ and 5 states for Deepwater Horizon oil spill

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BP has agreed to pay $20 billion to settle all civil claims arising from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, the Associated Press reports.

The agreement, made with the U.S. Justice Department and five states, must be approved by a judge. The agreement also calls for the company to maintain a cleanup project in the Gulf Coast area to restore wildlife, habitat and water quality. The 134-million gallon oil spill affected 1,300 miles of coastline.

“BP is receiving the punishment it deserves, while also providing critical compensation for the injuries that it caused to the environment and the economy of the Gulf region,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said at a news conference.

There still is a 60-day public comment period and a federal judge’s approval in New Orleans before the settlement is finalized.

A BP spokesman issued a statement saying the settlement includes amounts already spent or disclosed and “resolves the largest litigation liabilities remaining from the tragic accident.”

The settlement includes $5.5 billion in Clean Water Act penalties and nearly $5 billion to states on the Gulf: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Another $8.1 billion would go to natural resource damages, such as support of coastal wetlands, fish and birds.

A joint statement by conservation organizations such as the National Audubon Society and the Environmental Defense Fund said that while the extent of damage may not yet be known, this “will help bring the Gulf back to the state it was before the spill, and the release of this plan is a positive step toward that end.”

Some critics believe the settlement can’t fix or end the damage done. “All of this drilling is really just deepening our climate crisis,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director for the Center for Biological Diversity.

In an earlier settlement, BP has so far paid $5.84 billion to people and business harmed by the spill.

Some opted out of that settlement and litigation continues, as does litigation by BP stockholders.

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