The landmark government oil spill settlements are progressing as intended toward final resolution. As we have previously reported, in order for the United States and State settlements to be finalized, Judge Carl Barbier of the Eastern District of Louisiana had to first enter an order approving the Federal Government’s proposed consent decree.
The process of proposing and then approving a consent decree requires a number of steps, including first submitting the consent decree for public comment. Typically, after public comments are made, the submitting party (or parties) either provides responses to the public comments or makes additional revisions to the consent decree that alleviate public concerns. At that time, the consent decree is formally proposed to a court for approval.
On Oct. 5, 2015, the United States, along with the five settling states and BP, proposed a consent decree for public comment. The consent decree was subject to review and comment by the public for 60 days, and that time period has now ended. According to an order from Judge Barbier on March 2, 2016, the Court was advised by the United States that it anticipated filing a motion for entry of the consent decree on March 31, 2016. In addition, Judge Barbier noted his understanding that the United States would file the comments it had received regarding the consent decree, and, we presume, any responses or revisions to the consent decree at that time.
Based on Judge Barbier’s order and assuming there are no unexpected developments, the government settlements appear to be close to finality. This is good news for Alabama, as the first payment to Alabama is due within 90 days of the entry of an order approving the consent decree (also known as the “effective date”). From that point on, Alabama should receive its scheduled compensation every additional year on the anniversary of the effective date.
We are pleased that the consent decree process has progressed expeditiously. Rhon Jones and Parker Miller from our firm were leaders in the State of Alabama’s multi-billion dollar litigation and settlement against BP. This settlement will provide significant compensation to Alabama for many years to come. If you have any questions regarding the State of Alabama’s case, or any aspect of the BP litigation, contact Parker Miller at 800-898-2034 or Parker.Miller@beasleyallen.com.
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