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2015-07-09

Texas reaches agreement on Deep Water Horizon case

Special to the Courier

Texas today announced an agreement in principle between BP Exploration and Production Inc. and the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, and the US federal government. As part of the agreement, BP will pay $20.2 billion in damages and penalties, with Texas receiving more than $750 million.
Upon agreeing to the terms, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued the following statement: "After five years, I'm proud to announce that Texas, along with the other Gulf States, has reached an agreement in principle with BP to resolve all the states' claims. This settlement will allow Texas to reinvest in the Gulf community and reinvigorate the economic and environmental health of the region."
Environmental groups also celebrated the agreement.
"No amount of money can ever undo the destruction of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. In the five years since, the damage resulting from over 3 million barrels of oil spewing into gulf waters has been clear. Hundreds of thousands of birds lost their lives, along with tens of thousands of sea turtles, and nearly 1,000 dolphins were found dead or stranded. And destruction of already threatened wetlands made everything worse. With limited resources to help restore the Gulf, it has sometimes seemed almost hopeless. But today, much of that changed," said Steve Cochran, director, Mississippi River Delta Program and a member of the Environmental Defense Fund.
"This agreement ... brings real hope for the future of the Gulf coast. Much of this money will go towards restoring the Gulf Coast," said Cochran.
BP will pay a total of $20.2 billion in damages and penalties included $5.5 billion in Clean Water Act penalties which will fund projects in the Gulf-Wide RESTORE Act plan; $8.8 billion in Natural Resource Damages under the federal Oil Pollution Act; and $4.9 billion in Economic Damages to the Gulf States.
The Clean Water Act penalties and the Natural Resource Damages penalties will be a 15 year payout plan starting in 2017.