(WAFF) - Governor Robert Bentley on Thursday announced the State of Alabama has reached an agreement in principle to settle its lawsuit with BP for damages caused by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
According to the governor's office, this landmark agreement, announced at a news conference in Montgomery by Governor Bentley and Attorney General Luther Strange, is designed to compensate the State for both environmental and economic damages as a result of the disaster.
Officials say on the economic side, $1 billion will be paid to the state over the next 18 years while $1.3 billion is distributed to the environmental side for then next 15 years. This money will be used to facilitate coastal restoration projects in Alabama. Attorney General Luther Strange says, $1 billion will be placed into the General Fund over the next two decades to restore Alabama's gulf counties.
"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" Governor Bentley said. "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."
The BP/Deepwater Horizon oil spill began on April 20, 2010, about 100 miles off of Alabama's coast, killing 11 people and causing oil to flow into the Gulf of Mexico. For nearly three months, an estimated 3.19 million barrels of oil flowed into the Gulf. Alabama experienced significant environmental and economic damages as a result of the oil spill.
The total value of the Agreement in Principle is approximately $18.5 billion for all of the affected Gulf states economic losses, the natural resource damages and BP's Clean Water Act penalties. Alabama's share of this global agreement is over $2.0 Billion.
"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," Attorney General Luther Strange said. "That teamwork has led us to today's record settlement and a positive legacy for the future."
"It is important to commend BP, our Federal partners and the other Gulf Coast states for their efforts to get this agreement accomplished," Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner Gunter Guy said. "We look forward to working with Alabama's coastal communities to identify, develop and implement appropriate projects to restore our resources and the services they provide."
The agreement announced today only relates to the State of Alabama's claims against BP and it does not affect the claims of other people or companies.