Alabama compensated for 2010 BP oil spill

Published 4:00 am Friday, July 3, 2015

After five years of strife, Alabama’s litigation against BP resulting from the 2010 oil spill has ended.

In a joint press conference on Thursday, Attorney General Luther Strange and Gov. Robert Bentley announced that a $2.3 billion settlement had been reached with BP Oil for the 2010 Deep Water Horizon oil spill.

Alabama’s settlement is part of an $18.7 billion settlement being paid by BP, including the biggest pollution penalty in U.S. History.

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This agreement is designed to compensate the state for both environmental and economic damages as a result of the oil spill, and Bentley said the disaster had been in the worst in United States History.

“The impact to the Alabama Gulf Coast was detrimental,” Bentley said during his press conference. “We have reached an agreement in principle with BP to compensate the state for all environmental and economic damages suffered as a result of the oil spill. With the agreement announced today, we are taking a significant step forward in our state and will be come a stronger, safer and more resilient state as a result of this terrible disaster.”

The BP/Deep water Horizon oil spill began approximately 100 miles off Alabama’s Gulf Cost on April 20, 2010, when the rig exploded. The disaster killed 11 people and an estimated 3.19 million barrels of oil flowed into the waters of the Gulf before the well was capped.

Alabama will receive $1 billion will be paid to the state over the next 18 years for the economic damages suffered and the remaining $1.3 billion will be paid over the next 15 years and will be used to facilitate coastal restoration projects in Alabama. In a press release from Strange’s office, it was stated that the precise allocation of these payments would be determined at a later date.

Strange said at the press conference that when he took the state’s case against BP five years ago that he would make the State of Alabama whole again and wouldn’t spend a penny to make it happen. Thursday, he was pleased to announce he had accomplished his goal.

“Today, I am pleased to announced that both goals have been accomplished,” Strange said. “This is a remarkable achievement for our state and a tremendous legacy for the future.”

Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Gunter Guy said it was important to commend BP as well as the state’s federal partners and other Gulf Coast states for their efforts to see the agreement through.

“We look forward to working with the Alabama’s coastal communities to identify, develop and implement appropriate projects to restore our communities to identify, develop and implement appropriate projects to restore our resources and the services they provide,” Guy said.

Following the April 2010 oil spill, U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., worked with colleagues to pass the RESTORE Act, which gives unprecedented flexibility to coastal community directly affected by the oil spill. Shelby said the agreement announced Thursday was a step in the right direction.

“More than five years ago, the Gulf Coast witnessed one of the most devastating environmental and economic disasters after an explosion on the Deep Water Horizon oil rig,” Shelby said. “Today’s announcement represents a long-awaited, positive step forward for the State of Alabama, and I will closely monitor the settlement to ensure that the fines assessed against BP are controlled directly by the communities impacted as outlined in the RESTORE Act.”