The US government has confirmed it is pressing ahead with its court case against BP over the Deepwater Horizon disaster, after the oil giant settled out of court with businesses and individuals affected by the spill
While welcoming BP’s $7.8 billion (£4.9 billion) payout to local victims of the spill, the US Department of Justice announced it will be continuing with its legal action for the environmental damage caused to the Gulf of Mexico and the clean up costs.
In a statement released after the settlement was announced, the department confirmed the settlement “by no means fully addresses [BP’s] responsibility for the harms it has caused” nor “its violation of law”.
BP, which is yet to admit legal responsibility for the spill, is accused of negligence by the US government under the Clean Water Act and could face fines of up to $18 billion (£11 billion) on top of the more than $29 billion the firm has paid out as a result of the 2010 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig that killed 11 workers and caused the release of 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
The $7.8 billion settlement reached with the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee last week, resolves more than 110,000 claims against BP from fishermen, seafood businesses, residents and other businesses that suffered financially as a result of the accident and the resulting oil leak.
Bob Dudley, group CEO of BP, said: “The proposed payment represents significant progress toward resolving issues from the Deepwater Horizon accident and contributing further to economic and environmental restoration efforts along the Gulf coast.”
The settlement will be paid from the $20 billion trust BP set up to pay for damages resulting from the spill, and will include $2.3 billion paid to the seafood industry.