Court awards biggest pay-out in history after Gulf oil spill
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A US district court has approved the biggest environmental claim in history following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico nearly six years ago.
Under the settlement oil company BP, which admitted liability, will pay the National Resource Damage Assessment Trustees up to $8.8 billion for restoration. The settlement includes:
- $1 billion already committed during early restoration;
- $7.1 billion for restoration over 15 years, beginning in April 2017;
- Up to an additional $700 million to respond to natural resource damages unknown at the time of the agreement.
Approximately $296 million of money is allocated specifically to fund restoration projects in Alabama.
The Gulf oil spill devastated recreational fishing businesses across the region, some of which have never recovered from the disaster which started in April 2010.
“We are pleased with the court’s approval of this historic settlement and the resulting certainty it provides as to additional funding needed to continue efforts to restore our invaluable coastal resources,” said N. Gunter Guy Jr., Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
“We appreciate public input and participation which was vital in reaching this milestone and again ask our coastal communities for continued assistance as we transition to focusing on the longer term restoration needs of Alabama’s Gulf Coast.”
The settlement is part of the global settlement with BP that also resolved the remaining economic damage claims of the five Gulf states and municipalities. Taken together, these resolutions of civil claims is worth more than $20 billion.
When added to the criminal penalty claims awarded to Alabama through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation from plea agreements with BP and Transocean, the total value recovered for the state of Alabama for environmental claims from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill will top approximately $1.6 billion.