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Oil Money: BP Settles for 20B

On Monday (10.05) morning, a consent decree was filed in federal court to outlining the final details of the 20 billion dollar BP settlement. A joint announcement from the Department of Justice, Environmental Protection Agency, as well as Commerce Agriculture and Interior departments explained that the historical deal was matter of dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s on a deal hashed out in July.


That agreement promised that BP would pay 18.7 billion dollars to settle civil claims related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster including over 6.8 billion dollars to Louisiana. The discrepancy in numbers stems from the inclusion of some moneys that the oil giant already paid out according to the government’s statement.


Attorney General Loretta Lynch labeled the payout “a strong and fitting response to the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history.’’ She added that BP “is receiving the punishment it deserves, while also providing critical compensation for the injuries it caused to the environment and the economy of the gulf region.’’


The settlement involving five states is both the largest environmental settlement and the largest Clean Water Act fine in history. Combined with previous agreements, the Boot’s share will top ten billion dollars.


In a statement, Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell said, “"Today's settlement is a game changer for Louisiana and its families.” He continued, "Nothing can bring back the lives those 11 lives lost tragically April 20, 2010, but with new technology and innovation, perhaps we can prevent any further loss of life and protect our planet while we're at it.”


The deal still must be approved by U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier, but legal eagles do not foresee hurdles on that front. After approval, BP will begin payments of one billion annually for 18 years.


The energy giant’s stock soared in morning trading. BP spokesperson Geoff Morrell said the arrangement pushes the company closer to“fulfilling our commitment to help restore the gulf economy and environment.’’ 


Five years ago, the Deepwater Horizon’s blowout preventer failed causing a massive explosion that killed 11 crewmembers. For the following 87 days, the company struggled to plug the leak as the well spilled over 3.19 million barrels of oil into the gulf. It was the largest oil spill in American waters.


A criminal case involving “gross negligence” is still winding its way through Barbier’s courtroom.

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