A settlement between the Department of the Interior and a Louisiana energy company was reached to pay for the longest-running oil spill. Taylor Energy will pay upwards of $43 million in penalties and transfer $432 million as a trust to the Department to start cleaning up the 17-year spill.
The oil spill, which began in 2004 as a result of a collapse of a production platform caused by Hurricane Ivan, was located 10 miles from the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico. The ongoing spill has damaged two dozen oil wells pouring hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil making it the longest spill in U.S. history.
“This settlement represents an important down payment to address impacts from the longest-running oil spill in U.S. history,” Nicole LeBoeuf, director of NOAA’s National Ocean Service, said. “Millions of Americans along the Gulf Coast depend on healthy coastal ecosystems.”
The agreement “requires Taylor Energy to drop three lawsuits it has filed against the federal government and pay $432 billion into a trust to cap the remaining wells, shutter the facility and decontaminate the area,” according to EcoWatch. The company will have to liquidate its remaining assets in order to pay civil penalties, removal costs and natural resources damages.
Taylor Energy said they do not “admit any liability to the United States or the State arising out of the MC-20 Incident,” according to The Hill. The settlement, which was filed as a proposed consent decree, is open to public comment and court review within 40 days.
“Offshore operators cannot allow oil to spill into our nation’s waters,” Todd Kim, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, said. “If an oil spill occurs, the responsible party must cooperate with the government to timely address the problem and pay for the cleanup. Holding offshore operators to account is vital to protecting our environment and ensuring a level industry playing field.”