$18.5 billion BP settlement reached

Photo Credit: AP

Governor Robert Bentley and Attorney General Luther Strange announced Thursday morning that they have settled the state’s ongoing lawsuit with BP. According to the Governor’s office the settlement “is designed to compensate the State for both environmental and economic damages as a result of the disaster.”

Below are the statements from Bentley and Strange per a news release sent Thursday morning:

“The BP/ Deepwater Horizon oil spill was the worst environmental disaster in United States history, and the impact to the Alabama Gulf Coast was detrimental,” Gov. Robert Bentley said. “We have reached an agreement in principle with BP to compensate the State for all of the environmental and economic damages suffered as a result of the oil spill. With the agreement announced today, we are taking a significant step forward in our State and will become a stronger, safer and more resilient state as a result of this terrible disaster.”

“From the first day that Governor Bentley and I took office, we’ve worked together to secure justice for Alabama in the wake of the tragic BP oil spill,” Attorney General Luther Strange said. “That teamwork has led us to today’s record settlement and a positive legacy for the future.”

“It is important to commend BP, our Federal partners and the other Gulf Coast states for their efforts to get this agreement accomplished,” Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner Gunter Guy said. “We look forward to working with Alabama’s coastal communities to identify, develop and implement appropriate projects to restore our resources and the services they provide.”

The governor’s office said in a release, “The total value of the Agreement in Principle is approximately $18.5 Billion for all of the affected Gulf states economic losses, the natural resource damages and BP’s Clean Water Act penalties.  Alabama’s share of this global agreement is over $2.0 Billion. On the economic side, $1 billion will be paid to the State over the next 18 years for economic damages suffered. On the environment side, Alabama will receive approximately $1.3 billion over the next 15 years that will be used to facilitate coastal restoration projects in Alabama.”

They noted specifically that the “agreement announced today only relates to the State of Alabama’s claims against BP and it does not affect the claims of other people or companies.”

According to an AP report, “Alabama would receive $2.3 billion. Gov. Robert Bentley said the settlement would steer $1.3 billion for coastal environmental restoration. He said some of the $1.3 billion has already been paid to the state. Another $1 billion for will go to the state’s general fund as compensation from economic damages from the spill. Bentley said that money, which equates to $55.5 million a year, will help the cash-strapped budget, but will not solve the state’s current fiscal crisis, with lawmakers facing a $200 million deficit next year.”

On Thursday afternoon Sen. Richard Shelby chimed in with a statement of his own:

“More than five years ago, the Gulf Coast witnessed one of the most devastating environmental and economic disasters after an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.  Following the spill, I worked with my colleagues in the Senate to pass the RESTORE Act, which gives unprecedented flexibility to coastal communities directly affected by the oil spill.  Today’s announcement represents a long-awaited, positive step forward for the state of Alabama, and I will closely monitor the settlement to ensure that the fines assessed against BP are controlled directly by the communities impacted as outlined in the RESTORE Act.”

We will have additional details on this breaking story throughout the day.


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