SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - It's considered the largest environmental settlement in US history. On Monday a federal judge in the Crescent City granted approval to an estimated $20 billion BP oil spill settlement.
The money will be distributed over a 10 year period to the five Gulf states impacted by the 2010 spill. Mississippi is getting roughly $1.5 billion in that BP settlement.
According to the Department of Environmental Quality the money will go towards Natural Resource Damage Assessments payments, as well as Clean
Water Act Penalties.
On board the charter boat Miss Hospitality, Captain Kenny Barhanovich said he's seen the financial and environmental changes caused by the Deepwater Horizon spill.
"I've been in Red Tide and this tide didn't have any smell like Red Tide. Red Tide smells like someone kicked over a toad stool in your yard, didn't have any smell at all," said Barhanovich
Barhanovich said he hopes Mississippi agencies who receive the money put it towards fishing.
"I just hope it doesn't get lost in the bureaucracy and everything else. I think a lot of it outta go back to the fishermen. I mean the fishermen are some great scientists. They can do a lot more than people doing a survey," said Barhanovich.
Attorney Jim Reeves has represented hundreds of plaintiffs against BP and said he agrees with the judges decision.
"BP at this point and time has been made to pay what they owe. There was tremendous environmental damage and impact to the economy here. And this settlement, which has been around since July, but approved by a judge today, we think is a fair resolution to those claims," said Reeves.
The money will also go towards economic damages to the Mississippi Budget Contingency Fund, which will be available for appropriation by the Mississippi Legislature.