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Federal Judge OKs $20.8 billion settlement with BP for Gulf oil spill

Staff writer ▼ | April 5, 2016
A federal judge in New Orleans backed the agreement reached between the U.S. government and BP for the oil giant to pay $20.8 billion to settle claims for damages from the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Deepwater Horizon
Oil pollution   The end of five years of litigation
The accord, announced last July, puts an end to five years of litigation sparked by the April 20, 2010, blowout of the Macondo well, which claimed the lives of 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon platform and allowed some 5 million barrels of crude oil to flow into the Gulf during the 87 days it took to seal the well.

In a court order issued, U.S. District Judge Carl J. Barbier ratified the agreement between the government and the oil company, the latter of whom he declared to be responsible for gross negligence in the disaster.

“BP is receiving the punishment it deserves, while also providing critical compensation for the injuries that it caused to the environment and the economy of the Gulf region,” Attorney General Loretta Lynch said of the settlement.

The accord calls for the British energy giant to pay more than $14 billion to the federal government for claims under the Clean Water Act and the Oil Pollution Act and $5.5 billion to the five Gulf Coast states – Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas – to settle suits for economic losses.

This month will be the fifth anniversary of the explosion on the ocean platform that drilled the Macondo well.

The largest oil spill in the United States before the BP disaster was that caused by the Exxon Valdez oil tanker on the southern coast of Alaska in 1989, but that spill did not exceed 300,000 barrels.