The Federal Government, Gulf Coast States, and BP have reached a settlement in the amount of $18.7 billion, the largest environmental settlement ever.
The BP Settlement stems from the April 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig, which BP was leasing at the time. Eleven crewmen were killed in the incident and millions of gallons of crude were released into the Gulf of Mexico.
According to USA Today, under the BP Settlement, BP must pay $5.5 billion in Clean Water Act penalties and $8.1 billion in natural-resource damages, the highest totals ever for these penalties.
A judge must approve the settlement before it is final.
At present, BP has paid approximately $14 billion for response and cleanup and $4.5 billion in penalties as part of a settlement of criminal charges. Also, In 2012, BP settled with plaintiff’s attorneys regarding business economic, property damage, and individual claims arising from the oil spill.
Although the BP Settlement has been reached, BP will face other legal obstacles ahead. Lawsuits from shareholders and businesses and Gulf residents who opted out of the 2012 class-action settlement are still pending.
The recent Settlement sends a clear message to BP and other corporations – environmental protection and safety are not to be overlooked.