BP settles U.S. 2010 oil spill claims for $18.7 bln

“We are thrilled with the settlement,” Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi says of the agreement with BP that addressed claims from the U.S. government and the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

NEAR DEEPWATER HORIZON OIL RIG, GULF OF MEXICO (U.S. COAST GUARD) – BP has reached a comprehensive $18.7 billion settlement with the U.S. government and five states, officials announced on Thursday (July 2) announced on a landmark deal that effectively ends years of litigation over environmental damage and human casualties caused by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill.

It could be the largest settlement with a single entity in U.S. history, the U.S. Justice Department said.

The April 20, 2010, rig explosion killed 11 workers and spewed millions of barrels of oil for nearly three months onto the shorelines of several states.

“We are thrilled with the settlement,” Florida’s attorney general Pam Bondi said of the $3.25 billion the state will receive.

Bondi said BP deserved credit for working with officials to settle the case in a timely manner.

“Had we litigated this — this is a rabit hole, this is a black hole. We would have been in litigation for years. Regardless of any verdict, this would have been appealed…our grandchildren would have seen the money,” Bondi said.

The agreement covers U.S. Clean Water Act fines and natural resources damages, along with claims by Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas and 400 local government entities.

The size of the settlement was slightly more than the $17.6 billion that investors had feared BP would be fined under the Clean Water Act for gross negligence.

The maximum possible Clean Water Act fine was later trimmed to $13.7 billion after U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier found 3.19 million barrels spilled, less than the U.S. government claimed.

The settlement announced Thursday closes off the remaining liabilities and will bring over $6.8 billion to states.