MONTGOMERY, Ala. — In a joint press conference early Thursday morning, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley and Attorney General Luther Strange announced the state has reached a settlement with BP for damages caused by the 2010 Deep Water Horizon disaster.
“The BP/ Deepwater Horizon oil spill was the worst environmental disaster in United States history, and the impact to the Alabama Gulf Coast was detrimental” said Governor Bentley. “We have reached an agreement in principle with BP to compensate the State for all of the 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 become a stronger, safer and more resilient state as a result of this terrible disaster.”
According to the governor’s office, today’s settlement only affects the suit brought by the state, and will not affect the claims of other individuals or companies.
The settlement will end the state’s litigation against BP.
“From the first day that Governor Bentley and I took office, we’ve worked together to secure justice for Alabama in the wake of the tragic BP oil spill,” said AG Strange, who has spent the last five years working toward today’s announcement. “That teamwork has led us to today’s record settlement and a positive legacy for the future.”
Though $2.3 billion is a significant sum for the state—equivalent to nearly a year of what the state spends in its General Fund—Governor Bentley stressed the money is not a fix for the ailing budget.
“We are still going to have a special session and we are still going to shore up the General Fund,” Bentley underscored.
$1 billion of the settlement will be paid over 18 years for economic damages caused by the oil spill, and $1.3 billion over the same time period for environmental damages.
More than $18.5 billion total will be paid out to the Gulf States in the settlement.
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— Elizabeth BeShears (@LizEBeesh) January 21, 2015