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Louisiana Will Get |$6.8 Billion from BP

NEW ORLEANS (CN) - BP will pay Louisiana $6.8 billion for economic and environmental damages, including legal fees stemming from the 2010 oil spill, under a consent decree finalized this month.

The consent decree is based on a settlement agreement between the federal government, five Gulf States and BP that was first announced in July

Under the agreement, the oil company is to pay more than $6.8 billion to the state in addition to the $2 billion Louisiana has already received since the April 2010 oil spill.

The agreement stipulates that BP will reimburse Louisiana for all of its expenses, including attorneys' fees and other litigation costs. Those costs are in addition to Louisiana's settlement amounts.

Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell praised the agreement in an emailed statement earlier this month, saying the agreement "represents the culmination of more than five years of demanding and exhaustive work to hold BP accountable for the economic and environmental damage caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill."

"I am especially pleased that we have a firm commitment from BP that all of Louisiana's costs, including litigation expenses and attorneys' fees, will be paid by BP," Caldwell said. "Therefore this entire case was handled on behalf of Louisiana at absolutely no cost to taxpayers," he said.

The consent decree stems from the April 20, 2010 explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon rig that killed 11 people and unleashed the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history and is subject to court approval following a public comment period.

Under the agreement, Louisiana will receive $5 billion for natural resources damages; $1 billion for economic damages; and at least $787 million for civil penalties under the Clean Water Act.

Louisiana previously received more than $2 billion through agreements and grants with BP and other of the oil spill defendants, placing the state's total recovery at more than $8.8 billion, according to calculations from the Attorney General's office.

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