A federal judge gave final approval to a $20.8 billion settlement to be paid by BP for what US Attorney General Loretta Lynch has called “the worst environmental disaster in American history” – the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The settlement, first announced in July, includes $5.5 billion in civil Clean Water Act penalties and billions more to cover environmental damage and other claims by the five Gulf states and local governments. The money is to be paid out over roughly 16 years. The U.S. Justice Department has estimated that the settlement will cost the oil giant as much as $20.8 billion, the largest environmental settlement in U.S. history as well as the largest-ever civil settlement with a single entity.
Monday’s settlement, approved by US District Judge Carl Barbier, finalizes an agreement reached in July. In the earlier ruling, Barbier found that BP petroleum company had been“grossly negligent” with respect to the oil rig, whose explosion resulted in the death of 11 workers and caused 3 million barrels of oil to leak into the Gulf of Mexico.
According to astatement released on Monday, Attorney General Loretta Lynch called the 2010 oil spill “the worst environmental disaster in American history.”
“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,” Lynch wrote.