BP set­tle­ment agree­ment to be filed Mon­day


The public is about to get a look at de­tails of an US$18 bil­lion set­tle­ment agree­ment an­nounced in July to re­solve years of le­gal fight­ing over dam­age caused by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill.

A state­ment from the U.S. Jus­tice Depart­ment says the agree­ment in­volv­ing the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, five Gulf states and BP Ex­plo­ration and Pro­duc­tion will be filed Mon­day. That will be fol­lowed by a 60-day public com­ment pe­riod, the next step to­ward fi­nal court ap­proval.

The set­tle­ment would end bat­tles over eco­nomic and en­vi­ron­men­tal dam­age caused by the nearly 507-mil­lion-liter spill. The spill fol­lowed the April 2010 ex­plo­sion on an off­shore rig that killed 11 work­ers.

This year’s gov­ern­ment set­tle­ment comes af­ter a 2012 set­tle­ment be­tween BP and peo­ple and busi­nesses harmed by the spill. That set­tle­ment so far has re­sulted in US$5.84 bil­lion in pay­outs, ac­cord­ing to a re­port filed Thurs­day in U.S. Dis­trict Court in New Or­leans.

The pro­posed set­tle­ment an­nounced in July came af­ter U.S. Dis­trict Judge Carl Bar­bier ruled that BP had been “grossly neg­li­gent” in the ac­ci­dent, a rul­ing that set the oil gi­ant up for huge Clean Wa­ter Act fines.

Terms out­lined when the pro­posed set­tle­ment was an­nounced call for BP to pay US$5.5 bil­lion in Clean Wa­ter Act penal­ties — lower than the US$13.7 bil­lion penalty BP was fac­ing in an on­go­ing case.

But the com­pany would also have to pay US$7.1 bil­lion to fix nat­u­ral re­source dam­age along with close to US$5 bil­lion more for the states to set­tle eco­nomic and other claims. Pay­ments are to be spread over as many as 18 years.

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