Several parties are involved with the various settlements resulting from the Deepwater Horizon blowout, explosion, oil spill and response (Deepwater Horizon oil spill). To date, the following settlements have occurred: MOEX OFFSHORE 2007 LLC (MOEX) has settled its civil liability. BP Exploration & Production, Inc. (BP) has settled its criminal liability, and Transocean Deepwater Inc., Transocean holdings LLC, Transocean Offshore Deepwater Drilling Inc., and Triton Asset Leasing GMBH (Transocean Defendants) have settled their criminal liability and part of their civil liability. If the responsible parties chose not to settle they will go to trial beginning February 2013 in New Orleans.
The most significant piece of legislation to pass through the 2012 Congressional Session was the RESTORE Act, which allocates to the Gulf Coast Restoration Trust Fund a percentage of the Clean Water Act administrative and civil penalties.
To date, MOEX has settled all of its civil liability while the Transocean Defendants have only partially settled their civil liability for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
MOEX was a 10-percent non-operating investor in the lease on the Macondo well at the time of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and is the first entity to resolve civil penalty claims. The State of Florida received $10 million in the form of land acquisitions and stormwater management projects under a June 18, 2012 Consent Decree between MOEX and the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Florida Department of Environmental Protection will oversee the expenditure of $5 on stormwater retrofit projects. These projects will take place in different locations throughout Bay, Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties.
The other $5 million dollars was utilized to acquire conservation easements and/or fee simple title to environmentally sensitive lands around the Panhandle, including Escribano Point and Seven Runs Creek. Escribano Point is being managed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The conservation easement at Seven Runs Creek, which is a part of the Florida Forever project in Walton County, is being managed by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of State Lands.
The Florida Attorney General’s office played an instrumental role in securing this relief, consistent with its role in representing the Department of Environmental Protection on oil spill related matters.
On January 3, 2013 the Department of Justice announced a partial civil settlement with the Transocean Defendants. The partial consent decree, which is pending court approval, specifics that the Transocean Defendants will pay $1 billion in Clean Water Act civil penalties, which will be the first funds to be dispersed through the formula outlined in the RESTORE Act.
Although BP has not settled its civil liability for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, it has settled its criminal liability, along with the Transocean Defendants. A set amount of the funds paid out under the criminal settlements will be allocated to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), who will use this money to conduct or fund projects to remedy harm to resources where there has been injury to, or destruction of, loss of, or loss of use of those resources resulting from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Fourteen percent of the total allocation to NFWF will be expended on restoration projects in the State of Florida. NFWF is required to consult with the appropriate state resource managers to identify projects and to maximize the environmental benefits of the projects.
On November 15, 2012 the Department of Justice announced a criminal settlement with BP in the amount of $4 billion. The criminal plea agreement, which was approved on January 29, 2013, specifies that $2.394 billion of the funds will be paid out over five years to NFWF, and $335,160,000 will be available to fund restoration projects in Florida.
On January 3, 2013 the Department of Justice announced a criminal settlement with the Transocean Defendants in the amount of $400 million. The criminal plea agreement, which is pending court approval, specifies that $150 million of the funds will be paid out over 2 years to NFWF, and $21 million will be available to fund restoration projects in Florida.