Poor Oil Giant BP Has To Pay $18.7 Billion Just For Wrecking Gulf Of Mexico
This post made possible by the Patty Dumpling Endowment for Oil Spill Blogging and Oily Coastlines.
Hooray, the worst oil spill ever is finally going to be paid for, at least some -- BP agreed Thursday to a record $18.7 billion in fines to settle federal and state lawsuits over the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill, which gave us such golden memories as that time when Sarah Palin blamed the spill on environmentalists, who actually didn't have to pay anything for the spill at all, and how is that even fair? The one good thing about this here settlement is that it appears to be the amount that the company will actually pay, not the starting point for a bunch of appeals that reduce the fines. All we're waiting on now is for BP to release a statement reading only, "Bummer about all those pelicans." And at least now former BP CEO Tony Hayward has his life back.
The oil company's agreement with the Justice Department is the largest environmental settlement in history; the Washington Post has the details:
According to the agreement, BP will pay $5.5 billion in Clean Water Act penalties, 80 percent of which will go to restoration efforts in five affected gulf states. It will also pay $8.1 billion in natural resource damages and an additional $700 million to respond to environmental damages unknown at the time of the agreement.
BP has also agreed to pay $5.9 billion to settle claims by state and local governments for economic damages suffered as a result of the spill, and a total of $600 million for other claims, including for reimbursement of damage-assessment costs.
The payments will be spread out at a rate of about a billion dollars over 18 years, and the payments will start in about two years, which presumably gives the oil giant time to check the couch cushions for spare change. The Wall Street Journal notes that the agreement
would add at least $10 billion to the roughly $44 billion BP has already incurred in legal and cleanup costs, pushing its tab for the spill higher than all the profits it has earned since 2012.
Even with all that, the $5.5 billion in Clean Water Act penalties are still just a fraction of the $12 billion in fines prosecutors asked for after a district court judge ruled in September that BP had been reckless in its safety procedures; the ruling found BP liable for dumping a total of 3.19 million barrels of oil into the Gulf. So BP will pay less than half of what it should have, but more than the $2 billion it originally argued the Clean Water Act fine should be.
And now there's at least going to be a significant chunk of money going to partly fix the mess. Three damp, choked, gloppy cheers for justice, we guess.
Paywalled out of the WSJ article? Do a google search on the title, "BP Agrees to Pay $18.7 Billion to Settle Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Claims" and read to your oil-choked heart's content.
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