BP Reaches $7.8 Billion Deal Over Gulf of Mexico Spill

BP Plc has reached an estimated $7.8 billion deal with plaintiffs suing over the massive 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, the company said on Friday.

Lawyers for the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee, representing fisherman and businesses whose livelihoods were damaged after the oil spill, said the settlement would compensate hundreds of thousands of victims.

In Venice, Louisiana, only 42 miles northwest of the ruptured well, fishermen discussed the BP litigation.

[David Wellmeyer, Hobby Fisherman]:
“It’s not really going to affect me one way or the other, no matter who gets the blame, who pays the fine or who goes to jail, who doesn’t go to jail, who gets away.”

Dan Skermetta runs a fishing lodge out of Venice. He said business has been up and down since the spill, but he has not participated in litigation against BP.

[Dan Skermetta, Owner of Fishing Lodge]:
“I think it’s just all the big guys pointing fingers at each other. Nobody wants to be at fault or the blame dropped on. It’s probably a little bit of all of their fault because they—not that rules aren’t in place already to cover what happened out there—it’s just that they get a little lax, they cut a few corners to keep a job rolling and stuff happens. And it happened.”

Eleven people were killed in the explosion on April 20, 2010, and 4.9 million barrels of oil spewed from the mile-deep well in by far the worst offshore U.S. oil spill.

Anthony James was among a group of hunters from Walker, Louisiana, taking a trip to shoot rabbit. He said oil was still evident in the marshland, almost two years after the spill.

[Anthony James, Hunter from Walker, Louisiana]:
“When you walk in the marshes and you pull your boot up, you just see it running off. It’s definitely still there.”

A settlement would remove a significant portion of the complex case, but it would not put an end to BP’s exposure. The oil giant still faces claims by the U.S. government, which is pursuing violations of the Clean Water Act and other laws, which could result in fines totaling billions of dollars.

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