April 20 will mark six years since the Gulf BP oil spill took place, noted as the worst in U.S. history. The BP oil spill devastated the Gulf Coast area in 2010, lasting 87 days and spilling 3.19 million barrels of oil into the water. On April 4, a Federal Judge gave approval for a $20.8 billion settlement by BP. This comes after the September 2014 decision where BP was found to have been grossly negligent in the incident. The settlement will be paid out over a 16-year period and will cover large fines for the extensive environmental damage in addition to Clean Water Act penalties.

A Tragic Incident

The massive oil spill was the result of an explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, which killed 11 workers. In 2012, criminal charges were brought against BP, and U.S. District Judge Carl J. Barbier ruled BP had acted with gross negligence. BP pleaded guilty to manslaughter and other charges, paying $4 billion in criminal fines and penalties. One of the company’s VPs apologized, stating that on behalf of all its employees, board of directors and management team, he was “deeply sorry for the tragic loss of the 11 men who died and others who were injured that day.”

Tax Implications

Under the IRS tax code, BP will be allowed to write off $15 billion of the settlement as an ordinary business expense, upsetting many who insist the company be held accountable for the damage done. One quarter (approximately $5 billion) of the settlement is a non-tax deductible cost under the Clean Water Act. The rest covers natural resource damages, restoration, and reimbursement for government costs, therefore eligible for a deduction.

The Mess Continues

Unfortunately, the environmental tragedy continues to plague the gulf coast region as sea life such as dolphins, sea turtles, and fish struggle to recover. In a report by the National Wildlife Federation, Bottlenose dolphins were found dead on Louisiana’s coast at rate four times higher than the historic rate. The report also estimated that 27,000 to 65,000 Kemp’s ridley sea turtles died during the oil spill, and the number of nests discovered every year since continues to decline, despite growing rates prior to 2010.

Each day we see companies act with gross negligence, often endangering consumers and causing personal injuries or wrongful death. The Ruth Law Team helps ensure companies own up to their actions. If you need legal help for your own personal injury, Get Justice by calling The Ruth Law Team at (888) 783-8378.