In what could become the largest environmental settlement in history, BP has agreed to pay $18.7 billion in damages for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
The infamous Deepwater rig exploded in April 2010, leaking more than 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico over the course of 87 days. The spill ultimately coated hundreds of miles of southern shoreline, destroyed productive wetlands and killed droves of birds and marine life.
According to a BP press release, the majority of the company’s settlement will go towards recovery efforts in the five coastal states most affected by the spill — Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. A portion will also cover a federal violation of the Clean Water Act. The multi-billion dollar payment is to be made over 18 years.
“With this agreement we provide a path to closure for BP and the Gulf,” says BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg.
If accepted by a federal judge, the settlement will prove a win for environmentalists — albeit one that is more than five years in the making.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock