Judge Approves $20 Billion Settlement For Deepwater Horizon

Six years after the disastrous oil spill, BP will finally have to pay up.

Today a federal judge granted approval for the $20 billion settlement that stemmed from the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico six years ago. The settlement, which was announced last July, includes $5.5 billion in penalties related to the Clean Water Act and nearly $7 billion for environmental restoration work, paid out over the course of 16 years. It's the largest fine that the U.S. Department of Justice has ever doled out to an individual company or person.

The disaster, which unfolded over the course of the spring and summer of 2010, killed 11 people and an estimated 1 million birds and other wildlife. Last January, BP's lawyers' pleaded with a federal court for lesser damages. The Justice Department's attorney said in response: "BP's litigation position in this phase suggests that it still doesn't understand the gravity of what's happened here; they continue to focus on their own hardships rather than the hardships of the environment and the people." 

“It’s finally time for BP to pay for what they broke. Now we can focus on rebuilding America's Delta," David Yarnold, Audubon's CEO, said in a statement today. For more news coverage on the spill and stories about the revival of the Gulf, visit this page.