By Glynn Wilson –
MOBILE, Ala. — A federal judge in New Orleans granted final approval on Monday to the terms of a civil settlement agreement with British Petroleum for its role in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and disaster that killed 11 workers and dumped 4.9 million barrels or 210 million gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico.
U.S. Judge Carl Barbier approved the final amount of $18.7 billion, to be paid in penalties to the U.S. government and five Gulf states.
“Today’s action holds BP accountable with the largest environmental penalty of all time while launching one of the most extensive environmental restoration efforts ever undertaken,” U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement announcing the deal.
BP claims its total pre-tax charges from the spill set aside for criminal and civil penalties and cleanup costs added up to about $53.8 billion.
Under the terms of the original agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice and the Gulf Coast states, BP will pay $12.8 billion for Clean Water Act fines and natural resource damages to the federal government, plus $4.9 billion to the states impacted by the oil, in payments staggered over 18 years.
The Macondo well explosion on April 20, 2010, is now considered the worst offshore oil disaster in U.S. history, in addition to the largest and worst environmental disaster in American history.
The disaster turned many Gulf Coast residents into activists, and many people along the coast still do not trust the oil companies. A large contingent of activists recently staged a protest in New Orleans to oppose new oil leases in the Gulf.
© 2016, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.