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.