BP, the federal government, and five Gulf of Mexico states announced an $18.7 billion settlement Thursday that essentially ends much of the legal wrangling over the massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. It is the nation’s largest legal settlement over an environmental disaster.

The historic accord with Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, and Florida still needs the signature of US District Judge Carl Barbier of New Orleans. The deal comes five years after the Deepwater Horizon spewed some 3.2 million barrels (about 134 million gallons) of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, bringing with it long-lasting environmental consequences.
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