A $6.8 billion settlement with BP has been finalized

Local News
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BATON ROUGE — Attorney General James D. “Buddy” Caldwell announced today that court documents have been filed formalizing the state’s landmark agreement with BP, clearing the way for Louisiana to begin receiving billions of dollars for coastal restoration and economic recovery.

With the filing of a Consent Decree in U.S. District Court in New Orleans, BP has agreed to pay more than $6.8 billion to the state in addition to the $2 billion Louisiana has already received from the oil company following the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. The Consent Decree reflects the terms of an agreement in principle announced by the federal government, five Gulf Coast states and BP in early July.

The agreement stipulates that BP will reimburse Louisiana for all of its expenses, including attorneys’ fees and all litigation costs. That reimbursement is in addition to Louisiana’s settlement amounts.    

“Today’s court filings represent the culmination of more than five years of demanding and exhaustive work to hold BP accountable for the economic and environmental damage caused by the Deepwater Horizon spill,” Attorney General Caldwell said. “This settlement is the largest environmental settlement  in history, and I am extremely proud to have led Louisiana’s litigation efforts. With this recovery, we can move forward to begin rebuilding our coast and repairing the damage caused by this spill rather than dealing with the uncertainty and delays of trial and appeals.”

“I am especially pleased that we have a firm commitment from BP that all of Louisiana’s costs, including litigation expenses and attorneys’ fees, will be paid by BP. No part of Louisiana’s recovery will be used to fund any of these reimbursements. Therefore, this entire case was handled on behalf of Louisiana at absolutely no cost to taxpayers,” Caldwell said.

Caldwell congratulated his staff and attorneys for working hard to help bring the entire case to conclusion much sooner than anyone believed would be possible.

The Consent Decree filed today is subject to court approval following a public comment period. Also filed today were the Programmatic Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan (DARP)/Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS); an Economic Damage Settlement Agreement; and a court order regarding attorneys’ fees and costs.

The DARP/PIES describes the impacts from the spill on habitats and wildlife and the restoration projects that state and federal trustees plan to implement to restore those injured resources. It reflects much of the work completed in the Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA) that was developed immediately following the oil spill.

The Economic Damage Settlement Agreement specifies the amounts of money the states and federal government will receive for their economic damages claims.

As stated in July, Louisiana will receive $5 billion for natural resources damages; $1 billion for economic damages; and at least $787 million for civil penalties under the Clean Water Act.

In addition, Louisiana has previously recovered more than $2 billion through agreements and grants with BP and other defendants, making the state’s total recovery more than $8.8 billion.

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