Gulf States, federal government announce settlement with BP over Deepwater Horizon spill

David Yates Oct. 5, 2015, 3:10pm


On Oct. 5 Attorney General Ken Paxton announced that Texas, together with four states and the federal government, reached a settlement with BP that fully resolves all remaining government claims against the company resulting from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

According to a press release, Texas’ share of the settlement totals more than $800 million in money and restoration projects. Combined with money from previous settlements, Texas will ultimately receive more than $1 billion to help restore its gulf resources.

“The disaster of Deepwater Horizon was a tragedy that touched people’s lives all along the Gulf Coast, from those who love its natural beauty and wildlife, to those who make their living from the water,” said Paxton. “This agreement will help restore our natural resources and strengthen the communities that rely on them. Texas as a whole will benefit from this settlement.”.

The state’s lawsuit against BPXP and associated companies is to be settled by a Consent Decree in U.S. District Court, a related Economic Claims Settlement Agreement, and an agreed dismissal of all remaining claims.

The proposed Consent Decree provides for:

- The payment of civil penalties under the federal Clean Water Act, of which at least $430 million is expected to be directed to projects in Texas in accordance with the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States (“RESTORE”) Act;

- Restoration of injured and damaged natural resources, with approximately $238 million directed to projects in Texas;

- Guarantees of payment by BPXP’s parent companies; and

- Injunctive relief.

Restoration of damaged natural resources will be done according to a final restoration plan developed by the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Trustees Council, composed of the five gulf states and federal Natural Resource Trustees, pursuant to applicable law and regulations, the press release states.

In addition to the restoration projects, a proposed Economic Claims Settlement Agreement provides for the payment of $150 million to Texas. A separate order provides for the payment of $1 million in attorneys’ fees.

Paxton will publish formal notice of the entire settlement in the Texas Register and consider public comment for 30 days before deciding whether to accept the proposed settlement.

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