Judge approves $20 billion settlement in BP oil spill - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Judge approves $20 billion settlement in BP oil spill

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Fire boats battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon, off Louisiana, in this April 21, 2010 handout file photo. U.S. Coast Guard photo Fire boats battle the blazing remnants of the off shore oil rig Deepwater Horizon, off Louisiana, in this April 21, 2010 handout file photo. U.S. Coast Guard photo

A federal judge in New Orleans granted final approval Monday to an estimated $20 billion settlement, resolving years of litigation over the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The settlement, first announced in July, includes $5.5 billion in civil Clean Water Act penalties and billions more to cover environmental damage and other claims by the five Gulf states and local governments. The money is to be paid out over a 16-year period.

The judge, Carl Barbier, had set the stage for the settlement with an earlier ruling that BP had been "grossly negligent" in the offshore rig explosion that killed 11 workers and caused a 134- million-gallon spill.

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