The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) revealed the final terms of the historic settlement it and other Gulf coast states reached with BP in July. Before a ruling on the potential Clean Water Act penalties was expected from U.S. District Judge Barbier, BP agreed to pay $20 billion to settle federal and state claims arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and subsequent oil spill. Now, the largest pollution judgment in U.S. history is being sent to Judge Barbier for approval after a 45-day comment period.
The DOJ’s consent decree settles federal and state claims made by Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas as well as more than 400 local governments. The $20 billion settlement is comprised of the following damages:
This settlement resolves BP’s largest outstanding litigation liability as it seeks to settle various lawsuits stemming from the oil spill. BP is still funding the Deepwater Horizon Economic & Property Damages Settlement Program, which is reviewing claims filed by private individuals and business entities. Still pending are thousands of lawsuits filed by private businesses and individuals who opted out of this Settlement Program and are proceeding against BP directly in jurisdictions throughout the Gulf region.
We felt that BP was feeling the heat of potential Clean Water Act penalties that could have been levied by Judge Barbier. I believe that factor, coupled with the significant progress being made in the State of Alabama’s case, was weighing heavily on the corporate giant. Our firm joined with the Attorney General’s office in prosecuting the first state case that was set for trial and made headway in the discovery process before the settlement was reached. Governor Robert Bentley, Attorney General Luther Strange, and the lawyers in our firm, led by Rhon Jones, are extremely pleased with the outcome and the benefits this settlement will provide to the State of Alabama, which is in dire financial straits.
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