The reckoning has finally come for British Petroleum’s massive 2010 oil spill off the Gulf Coast, with a court settlement of nearly $21 billion related to the disaster. The Washington Examiner reports that the money will be split up and used to fund various projects to help address the environmental disaster, including: a $5.5 billion penalty for civil claims under the Clean Water Act, $7.1 billion in claims under the Oil Pollution Act, $1 billion for early restoration work, $4.9 billion for the five Gulf states, and $1 billion for local governments. “Once approved by the court, this agreement will launch one of the largest environmental restoration efforts the world has ever seen,” Lynch said.
The Deepwater Horizon spill damaged 1,300 miles worth of coastline in Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, and Texas during the nearly three months oil was gushing from the damaged rig off the coast. All in all, an estimated 4.9 billion barrels of oil escaped into the Gulf of Mexico.
According to the Examiner, effects from the spill on wildlife has been significant, with dolphins and fish in the area dying due to potential oil exposure, and many waterfowl harmed on shore due to chemicals from the well. Oil from the spill that likely settled on the bottom of the ocean floor could have long-lasting effects on ecosystems in the area.
According to agriculture secretary, Tom Visack, many private land owners in the area are still facing the effects of the spill as well, as farmers now have land that’s not viable due to the oil pollution.
“It’s a national treasure for the entire country,” Visack said. “This is an important settlement and we have important work to do.”