July 2, 2015 — The Justice Department has announced a record-setting $18.7 billion settlement with BP for the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
BP has already set aside nearly $44 billion to pay for cleanup costs, criminal and civil fines, and more, according to Reuters.
Yesterday’s settlement includes $12.8 billion in penalties for natural resource damage and fines under the Clean Water Act. Another $4.9 billion will go directly to five states along the Gulf Coast, including Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.
Last year, a federal judge in Louisiana called BP’s conduct “grossly negligent,” which quadrupled the company’s maximum civil liability under the Clean Water Act.
The preliminary agreement specifies that payments will be stretched out over as long as 18 years, Bloomberg reports. When the settlement was announced, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said:
“If approved by the court, this settlement would be the largest settlement with a single entity in American history. It would help repair the damage done to the Gulf economy, fisheries, wetlands and wildlife; and it would bring lasting benefits to the Gulf region for generations to come.”
More than 1,000 miles of coastline a large section of seafloor under the Gulf of Mexico were fouled by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in April 2010. When the rig exploded, 11 workers were killed. An estimated 134 million gallons of crude oil poured into the ocean for nearly three months before BP could cap the well.
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