On July 2, the U.S. Department of Justice and BP—one of the world’s largest oil and gas companies—announced that they had come to terms on a historic $18.7 billion settlement over damages from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. By any metric, this is an enormous sum of cash; for example, it is more than the gross domestic product of 83 countries, according to the World Bank. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced in a statement that, if ultimately approved, this restitution “would be the largest settlement with a single entity in American history”—appropriate considering that the spill was one of the worst environmental disasters to ever occur in the United States.
Yet, is almost $19 billion enough to liberate the Gulf of Mexico’s economy and environment after BP’s “gross negligence” led to the dumping of more than 3 million barrels of oil into its waters and onto its shores? Where will the money go? And, at the end of the day, is it a good deal for Gulf Coast residents and American taxpayers?
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