A U.S. judge in New Orleans on Monday approved an estimated $20 billion settlement over the catastrophic 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The settlement, which was first announced in July, is set to be paid out over a 16-year period. The deal includes $5.5 billion in civil Clean Water Act penalities as well as billions to cover the environmental damage and other claims by the five affected Gulf states and local governments. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the order was a step toward correcting “the worst environmental disaster in American history.” The oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded in 2010, killing 11 workers and causing a 134 million-gallon spill.
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