Arnold & Porter Supports BP in Historic Settlement of Deepwater Horizon Claims

December 21, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC, December 21, 2015 -- Five years after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in the Gulf Mexico, BP Exploration & Production (BPXP) and related entities recently reached agreements to settle all federal and state environmental claims. Arnold & Porter has served as BP's primary environmental counsel related to the oil spill since 2010. Among other responsibilities the firm led the company's Natural Resource Damages (NRD) defense, participated as trial counsel in the Clean Water Act penalty phase, and helped lead negotiations for a global resolution of government claims.

Arnold & Porter worked with co-counsel Sullivan & Cromwell to negotiate the consent decree that will resolve claims made by the federal government, as well as Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas and more than 400 local government entities.

BP has committed to pay up to $18.7 billion, which will include:

  • a civil penalty of $5.5 billion under the Clean Water Act (CWA) payable over 15 years;
  • $7.1 billion to the United States and the five Gulf states over 15 years for natural resource; damages (NRD). This is in addition to the $1 billion already committed for early restoration;
  • $4.9 billion to be paid over 18 years to settle economic and other claims made by the five Gulf Coast states; and
  • Up to $1 billion to resolve claims made by more than 400 local government entities.

The final Consent Decree for Clean Water Act and NRD was filed with the Court on October 5 and is subject to public comment and court approval. Arnold & Porter's negotiating team was led by Brian Israel, Michael Daneker and Allison Rumsey. The firm's representation of BP was led by Thomas Milch. Team members include Joel Gross, Daniel Cantor, Matthew Douglas, Elissa Preheim, Lauren Daniel, Brett Marston, and Eric Rey.

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