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B.P. to pay $20 billion for 2010 oil spill

BP to pay nearly $21 billion settlement in oil spill case

Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Saturday, October 10, 2015, 3:00 - British Petroleum has reached a global settlement for triggering a devastating oil spill on the Gulf Coast in 2010.

The U.S. Department of Justice (USJD) says the oil giant will pay out $20.8 billion total.

"Taken together this global resolution of civil claims is ... the largest such settlement with a single entity in the Department’s history," the USJD says in a statement.

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The settlement includes a $5.5 billion penalty for civil claims under the Clean Water Act, $7.1 billion in claims under the Oil Pollution Act, $1 billion for early restoration work, $4.9 billion to five states impacted by the spill and $1 billion for local governments.

Attorney Loretta Lynch made the announcement earlier this week, adding that once approved by the court, the agreement "will launch one of the largest environmental-restoration efforts the world has ever seen."

Dark smoke and fire from oil burning in the Gulf of Mexico, 6 May 2010. Courtesy: Wikipedia

An unprecedented disaster

Nearly six years after the fact, BP's 87-day oil spill remains one of the largest in U.S. history.

An explosion and the subsequent sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig created a rupture that spewed oil between April 20 and July 15, 2010.

Eleven people died.

More than 4 million barrels of oil were spilled into the Gulf of Mexico, causing extensive damage to bird sanctuaries, marine and wildlife habitats.

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Massive losses were reported in the fishing and tourism industries.

In November 2012, BP plead guilty to 11 counts of manslaughter, two misdemeanors and lying to U.S. Congress.

Parts of the seafloor were severely damaged from the spill, with some experts saying it could take "decades" for the ecosystem to fully recover.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice

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