WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department and five states have finalized a settlement worth more than $20 billion arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, federal officials announced Monday.
The deal resolves all civil claims against BP and ends five years of legal fighting over the nearly 134 million-gallon spill.
It requires the company to commit to a widespread cleanup project in the Gulf Coast area aimed at restoring wildlife, habitat, water quality and recreation.
“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 at a Justice Department news conference.
“The steep penalty should inspire BP and its peers to take every measure necessary to ensure that nothing like this can ever happen again,” Lynch said.
The settlement filed in federal court finalizes an agreement first announced in July. The next step is a 60-day public comment period.
Among other requirements, BP will be forced to pay $5.5 billion in Clean Water Act penalties and nearly $5 billion to five Gulf states: Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.
It also requires the company to pay $8.1 billion in natural resource damages, with funds going toward Gulf restoration projects such as support for coastal wetland and fish and birds.
The spill followed the April 2010 explosion on an offshore rig that killed 11 workers. BP earlier settled with people and businesses harmed by the spill, a deal that’s so far resulted in $5.84 billion in payouts.