Federal judge grants final approval for 2010 BP oil spill settlement; Louisiana to receive more than $6.8 billion for restoration efforts
(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) issued the following statement regarding a federal judge granting final approval for $20.8 billion British Petroleum (BP) settlement agreement for civil claims as a result of 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. This is an increase to the $18.7 billion, which was originally announced in July. Louisiana is expected to receive more than $6.8 billion. Funds are to be paid out over the next 16 years. Vitter was an original co-sponsor of the RESTORE Act, which dedicates at least 80 percent of the Clean Water Act penalties paid by BP and other responsible parties to Louisiana and other Gulf States to restore coastal ecosystems and economies damaged by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
“Louisiana has been working nonstop to overcome the devastating losses along our coastline, in our coastal communities, and in our economy,” said Vitter. “Eleven men tragically lost their lives in the devastating explosion and oil spill, and in the five years since, Louisiana has done what we do best – recover, rebuild, and progress. While it has been an uphill battle to ensure that Louisiana was fairly compensated, we did achieve substantive wins, including passing the RESTORE Act, and the final approval of the $20 billion BP settlement provides Louisiana the long-awaited avenue to advance the rebuilding and revitalizing process.”
The BP settlement agreement includes:
• $5.5 billion federal Clean Water Act penalty, plus interest;
• $8.1 billion in natural resource damages, including restoring coastal habitats; and
• $600 million in claims for reimbursement of federal and state natural resources damage assessments costs and other unreimbursed federal expenses.
Today’s settlement will include $5.5 billion in the Clean Water Act civil penalties, as well as additional billions to cover environmental damages. As a leading Republican conferee on the Highway Bill in 2012 and the only member from the Louisiana delegation involved in the negotiations, Vitter ensured that the final version of the bill included language requiring the enactment of the RESTORE Act.
In the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and resulting moratorium in the Gulf of Mexico, Vitter pushed the Administration and the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) to ensure that those in the Louisiana seafood industry who were directly impacted were not ignored. In the initial claims process, very few fishermen, seafood processors, and distributors whose jobs were directly tied to the offshore spill zone were paid. As a result of Vitter’s action, businesses and individuals in retail sales and service jobs, such as restaurants, bars or hotels, were able to get their claims processed quickly.