After years of litigation, a New Orleans federal judge has approved a $20 billion settlement that BP must pay. The settlement is for the destructive 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Included in the settlement is $5.5 billion for Clean Water Act civil penalties, along with billions more dollars to make up for the massive environmental devastation and Gulf state claims. The payout will take place over 16 years and the estimated settlement is $20.8 billion.
The BP settlement is the biggest environmental settlement in United States history with gross negligence cited when the BP rig exploded, killing 11 employees and spilling 134 million gallons of oil into the Gulf.
Billions in Repercussions
A large settlement reminiscent of this recent $20 billion one took place in 2012 and involved Gulf Coast residents and businesses that were negatively impacted by the BP spill. Claims are still being processed today by a claims administrator.
BP believes its total cost of the spill, including cleanup, civil and criminal penalties, will top $53 billion. Many experts are pleased with the settlement. U.S. Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, expressed praise for BP being held accountable for one of the biggest environmental penalties ever granted.
Louisiana was particularly damaged by the spill when marshes along the coast were ravaged by oil. Governor John Edwards is pleased since the settlement will allow the state to receive coastal restoration funding to clean up the delicate marshes.
According to an environmental expert, this settlement will end a long, devastating chapter in U.S. environmental history and it remains to be seen whether enough has been learned to avoid other disasters down the road.
With the general sentiment of the settlement being positive, criticism remains regarding some BP payments being tax deductible.
At Simien & Simien, we understand the destruction oil spills can cause businesses and homeowners. If you have suffered property loss due to oilfield contamination, contact our oil contamination attorneys today and receive a free consultation to review your claim.