Image courtesy of Green Fire Productions/Flickr.

The U.S. Department of Justice asked a federal judge on Tuesday to approve the $20 billion Deepwater Horizon settlement reached with BP last year.

In a statement, the DOJ said it asked the federal court in New Orleans to approve a proposed settlement reached in October 2015 to settle the government’s civil claim under the Clean Water Act and natural resources damage claims under the Oil Pollution Act.

U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier upheld a ruling in November 2014 that found BP guilty of “gross negligence” leading up to the Deepwater Horizon accident.

The approval will also allow for the implementation of a related settlement of economic damage claims for five Gulf states and local governments.

The five states included in the settlement are Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

Combined with a related agreement that requires BP to pay $5.9 billion to state and local government entities, BP will be paying over $20 billion, the largest settlement with a single entity in the history of federal law enforcement.

The settlement will resolve the government’s civil claims against BP related to the April 2010 Macondo well blowout that caused the largest oil spill in U.S. history and killed 11 people.

“With today’s action we take another step towards restoring the Gulf to its condition before the Deepwater spill – by bringing an unprecedented amount of resources that will be dedicating to this iconic ecosystem – and achieving justice for the American people,” the DOJ said.

If the settlement is approved, BP will pay a Clean Water Act penalty of $5.5 billion plus interest, $8.1 billion in natural resource damages, up to an additional $700 million to address injuries to natural resources that are presently unknown and $600 million for other claims, including claims under the False Claims Act, royalties and reimbursement of natural resource damage assessment costs and other expenses tied to the accident.


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