Since 2010, the Gulf Coast economy has struggled to mend the damages caused by BP after the devastating Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Fortunately, these communities and businesses may be able to make strides in the right direction, thanks to the recent settlement reached between Gulf states and BP.
The federal government, along with the Gulf Coast states, announced the landmark settlement of $18.7 billion early in July. Years of litigation have finally been resolved in what is recognized as the largest environmental settlement ever.
While a judge must approve the settlement before it is final, many have expressed sentiments that the high amount is well-deserved in light of BP's carelessness. The Deepwater Horizon exploded and sank in April 2010, resulting in the leakage of more than 200 million gallons of crude into the Gulf. The leak was finally contained in September 2010, although 2012 reports indicated that oil was still seeping from the site.
Too Little Too Late or Just in Time?
The $18.7 billion settlement includes $5.5 billion in Clean Water Act penalties, $8.1 billion in natural-resource damages, and $5.9 billion in economic claims by state and local governments. According to an environmental law professor at the University of Michigan, these are the highest totals ever for those federal penalties.
Other companies will certainly learn a message from this record-setting settlements. Not only is it crucial to exercise caution when it comes to environmental safety, a failure to do so will result in the responsible party paying the costs just like BP is now doing.
Attorney David Rash articulated hope that the settlement will benefit Gulf Coast communities. "The BP settlement with the Gulf States and local governments more than five years after the Deepwater Horizon disaster will hopefully go a long way in helping repair the untold damages to the Gulf of Mexico," he said. "The question is whether it is too little too late, because there is no doubt the Gulf States, the Gulf of Mexico, and those individuals and businesses that rely on its natural resources will continue to suffer due to BP's reckless behavior."
As a well-established oil spill attorney, Mr. Rash is known for the comprehensive knowledge of maritime law that he possesses. If you believe you have a claim related to the BP oil spill, get in touch with our firm right away.