A federal judge in New Orleans has gave final approval Monday for a massive settlement in the aftermath of the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Over a 16-year period, BP will pay out $20 billion for the Deepwater Horizon explosion that sent millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf, covering more than 40,000 miles between Florida and Texas. In 2014, a study reported that the spill had killed more than one million birds alone as a result.
Its finally time for BP to pay for what they broke,” said Audubon President and CEO David Yarnold. “Now we can focus on rebuilding America’s Delta. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to protect Gulf Coast communities and the wildlife that need intact coastlines. It’s time to start the recovery process for millions of birds and people alike.”
The ruling, which was first announced in July, will be the largest environmental settlement in United States history as well as the largest civil settlement with a single entity. But this most recent settlement alone still doesn’t come close to the final tab that will be charged to BP over the years. It’s estimated that between the original clean up costs and various settlements, as well as penalties, British Petroleum will have forked out more than $53 billion for the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry.
$1,720 has been charged by the Justice Department for each barrel of oil spilled, which BP will pay will pay off from 2017 to 2031. That amount will account for $5.5 billion of the new settlement. They are also paying nearly half a billion dollars every year to Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and Mississippi to restore natural resource damage as part of the ruling.