A New Orleans federal judge has approved the $20 billion settlement reached between BP, the U.S. Department of Justice and five Gulf states tied to the Deepwater Horizon accident.

According to Courthouse News Service, District Judge Carl Barbier approved the settlement on Monday that calls for the funds to be paid out over the course of 16 years.

BP will pay a Clean Water Act penalty of $5.5 billion plus interest, $8.1 billion in natural resource damages and up to an additional $700 million to address injuries to natural resources that are presently unknown, according to a statement released by the DOJ late last month.

The company will also pay $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.

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.

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.

The deal is the single largest settlement the DOJ has ever reached with a single entity.

Barbier upheld a ruling in November 2014 that found BP committed gross negligence that led to the well blowout.

“Today’s action holds BP accountable with the largest environmental penalty of all time while launching one of the most extensive environmental restoration efforts ever undertaken,” Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch said.


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