BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell announced an $18.7 billion settlement between several Gulf states and BP in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. It's the largest environmental settlement in history, according to Caldwell.
The agreement totals approximately $18.732 billion, of which Louisiana anticipates receiving more than $6.8 billion. It is an agreement in principle and will be worked out over several months. Officials hope to seek the court's approval of a final consent decree in early 2016.
Upon finalization, the agreement announced Thursday will bring Louisiana's total recovery from the Deepwater Horizon disaster to more than $10 billion.
The more than $6.8 billion included for Louisiana is comprised of the following components: $5 billion for natural resource damages (includes $368 million in previously allocated early restoration); A minimum of approximately $787 million for Clean Water Act civil penalties distributed through the RESTORE Act (Louisiana's portion of the RESTORE Council distributed funds has yet to be determined); $1 billion for state economic damages.
The money will be paid over time through the next 16 years.
"This agreement is the result of five years of hard-fought litigation and intense scientific research, and it provides Louisiana the coastal restoration and compensation it needs following the Deepwater Horizon disaster," said Caldwell. "With a total recovery of more than $10 billion – which is more than any state has ever recovered for this type of case – we can begin work to restore and repair Louisiana and its coastline."
Attorneys general in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida announced the settlement Thursday during simultaneous news conferences in their respective states.
The blowout on April 20, 2010, killed 11 rig workers. For 87 days, the wild well 50 miles south of Venice belched millions of gallons of crude into the Gulf.