BP pay record fine for Gulf of Mexico oil spill

The Guardian reports, 2nd July 2015: “BP has agreed to pay a record environmental fine of $18.7bn to settle legal actions brought by the US and several states over the fatal 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The US justice department, along with the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Texas and Florida, all sued BP for damages not covered by the company’s earlier settlements with businesses and individuals harmed by the worst offshore spill in US history.

The settlement ends all litigation between BP, the states and the US government and allows the company to pay over 18 years. BP’s share price rose on the news.

The 2010 disaster at BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig caused devastating pollution in the Gulf of Mexico.  Photograph: Gerald Herbert/AP

The 2010 disaster at BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig caused devastating pollution in the Gulf of Mexico.
Photograph: Gerald Herbert/AP

Last September, judge Carl Barbier, who has overseen the tortuous legal case resulting from the disaster, ruled BP had been “grossly negligent” in its handling of the well. The decision opened up BP to the highest possible fines.

The company will pay $7.1bn in “natural resource damage assessment”, and the money will be divided among the states and earmarked for environmental clean up projects related to the spill. BP was fined $5.5bn under the Clean Water Act.

The 2010 explosion at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig cost 11 lives and resulted in 4.2m barrels of oil spewing into the Gulf over 87 days, according to the US government.

BP argued the volume of the spill was far lower. Barbier eventually ruled BP was responsible for the release of 3.1m barrels. The spill affected the shore of the Gulf coast from Louisiana to Florida. Its impact on seafood and wildlife is still being assessed.

More than five years after the disaster, environmentalists and Gulf residents are still counting the cost. Fatalities among dolphins and other marine life have surged in the spill’s aftermath.

“No monetary award can ever undo the destruction of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. But, while we look forward to additional details, today’s agreement, the largest environmental settlement in American history, represents a significant step toward justice for the Gulf Coast ecosystems, economies and communities that were damaged by the disaster,” Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defence Fund, said in a statement. “More than five years later, this agreement between the five Gulf states, BP and the department of justice brings real hope for the future of the Gulf Coast.”

Source: The Guardian, 2nd July 2015. For the full text see www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/02/bp-will-pay-largest-environmental-fine-in-us-history-for-gulf-oil-spill


Please do share this

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • email hidden; JavaScript is required
  • RSS