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Officials in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana announced an $18.7 billion settlement with BP Thursday that resolves years of litigation over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, one of the worst environmental disasters in the U.S.In arguing against such a high penalty, BP has said its spill-related costs already were expected to exceed $42 billion, even without the Clean Water Act fine. It's unclear how much BP will end up paying under a 2012 settlement with individuals and businesses claiming spill-related losses.BP had appealed both those rulings, which set the stage for the possible multibillion-dollar Clean Water Act penalty.
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