U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier today granted final approval to the settlement agreement reached in principle last July to resolve damage claims related to the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The settlement totals an estimated $20 billion and will provide relief to states that suffered environmental damage and economic losses as a result of the massive oil spill – Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Florida. The State of Alabama will receive more than $2 billion in total, which includes compensation for economic losses resulting from the spill, natural resource damages, and an apportionment of Clean Water Act civil fines and penalties. This is the largest environmental settlement in U.S. history.
Jere Beasley and Environmental Section Head Rhon Jones, along with a team of lawyers from the law firm Beasley Allen, represented Gov. Robert Bentley’s office in this litigation. Jones, along with lawyers Parker Miller, Jenna Fulk and Rick Stratton, were deputized by Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange as deputy attorneys general for the State of Alabama in this case.
“Approval of the consent decree means that state governments across the Gulf of Mexico, including Alabama, will receive significant compensation beginning in 90 days, and continuing for well over a decade,” Jones said. “Billions more will be spent to clean up and restore the Gulf Region’s coastal environment. To say that this is a good day would be a gross understatement.”
Miller, a principal with the Firm, spearheaded Beasley Allen’s damage and litigation efforts. “Today, justice was served for Alabama. Confirmation of this settlement represents closure and a new beginning for the State, and I can say without hesitation having worked on the case for six years that the settlement is a tremendous result for Alabama,” he said.
The Deepwater Horizon oil drilling platform exploded about 100 miles off Alabama’s coast on April 20, 2010, killing 11 workers. The Macondo well spewed oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 87 days before it was capped on July 15, 2010. The spill is considered the largest man-made environmental disaster in United States history, and one of the largest in world history. The spill devastated Alabama’s beaches, its tourism industry and businesses throughout the State, causing Alabama to suffer substantial tax losses and environmental impacts.