More than six years after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the City of Orange Beach, Ala. has reached a settlement with oil conglomerate BP over the company’s role in the disaster.

The explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform resulted in an underwater oil leak which spilled nearly five million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, the largest-ever oil spill in U.S. waters.

The more than $15 million settlement announced this week settles Orange Beach’s claims for lost tax revenue and other damages. The city will receive about $10 million after expenses and attorneys’ fees.

Oil and tar balls are seen on the Gulf Coast in May 2010. (Drew Buchanan/The Pulse)

Oil and tar balls are seen on the Gulf Coast in May 2010. (Drew Buchanan/The Pulse)

Money from the settlement will not be used to compensate for punitive damages or other claims, city officials said. BP will still be liable for any pending or future suits related to environmental impact.

Orange Beach mayor Tony Kennon said the city will place the settlement funds in the city’s reserve fund to deal with projects such as new roads, bridges, and beach renourishment.

The Orange Beach settlement is among the largest for any Gulf Coast city or county outside of Louisiana, especially given the city’s population of just 5,000 people. Orange Beach officials have long fought for more favorable terms, holding out even as other Gulf Coast cities concluded their settlements with BP. City officials rejected a $9 million offer from BP in 2015.

In 2012, nearby Gulf Shores and Foley, Ala. were among the first Gulf Coast communities to reach settlements with BP, with the two cities receiving $6.5 million and $875,000 respectively.

Last year, Baldwin County, Ala. settled for $11.5 million, while the cities of Mobile and Fairhope, Ala. settled for $7.1 million and $1.8 million apiece. Mobile County also received $1.8 million, and the small community of Bayou La Batre received $352,000.

In Mississippi, the cities of Biloxi and Pascagoula received $4.9 and $2.2 million from BP.

The city of Pensacola, Fla. also settled last year, receiving $4.3 million.


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