Louisiana, the federal government and the Gulf States have reached a settlement with MOEX, one of the responsible parties in the Deepwater Horizon disaster, regarding Clean Water Act penalties associated with the oil spill, announced Governor Bobby Jindal and Attorney General Buddy Caldwell.
Under the settlement, the State of Louisiana will receive $13.5 million from MOEX. The settlement agreement includes $6.75 million for remediation of environmental damages and $6.75 million for the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority's Coastal Forest Conservation Initiative.
Governor Jindal said, "From day one, our priority has been to make sure that our coast is fully restored from the oil spill and that our people get back on their feet as quickly as possible. That's why we have already negotiated agreements pertaining to seafood safety, seafood marketing, tourism, $1 billion in early restoration and other agreements. Now, returning $13.5 million in fines to the State of Louisiana is another step forward in our road to recovery from one of the nation's worst environmental disasters."
"We are pleased with this recovery from MOEX, but expect much larger recoveries from the remaining defendants," said Attorney General Caldwell.
The settlement resolves only the civil penalties liability of MOEX under the Clean Water Act. Louisiana's claims against MOEX under the Oil Pollution Act, maritime and state law, including punitive damages, are not affected by the settlement. Any additional claims against MOEX, such as natural resource and economic damages, would still be included in the multi-district litigation against BP and the remaining responsible parties.
The settlement also does not resolve the existing state law claims for fish and wildlife civil penalties filed by coastal parishes and district attorneys. These claims are currently pending on appeal.
Federal, state and MOEX officials have agreed to dedicate a portion of the U.S. government's penalty recovery to Louisiana under the Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEP) provision of the Clean Water Act. A SEP allows an alleged violator of the Clean Water Act to undertake an environmentally beneficial project related to the violation in exchange for mitigation of the penalty to be paid.
Pursuant to the settlement between Louisiana and MOEX, and as contemplated by the Consent Decree, Louisiana will receive:
A cash payment of $6.75 million for civil penalties. The funds will be placed in the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality's Hazardous Waste Site Cleanup Fund.
$6.75 million for the acquisition and protection of coastal forests and lands associated with the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority's Coastal Forest Conservation Initiative.