It is unprecedented that a private “responsible party” pays out $50 B for a hazmat incident. Apparently, the money for remedial efforts is likely to benefit the Gulf. See this NY Times editorial: BP Deal Will Lead to a Cleaner Gulf.
Though no amount of money can ever compensate for the staggering damage caused by the 2010 BP oil spill, last week’s provisional $18.7 billion settlement among five states, the federal government and the company will help make amends for one of the worst environmental disasters in American history. If approved by a federal judge, the deal will end years of legal battles and bring the total amount BP will pay for its role in the calamity to more than $50 billion. It will also provide a significant, continuing source of revenue for the repair and restoration of the Gulf of Mexico’s marshes, barrier islands, fisheries, deep-sea corals and other vulnerable elements of an ecosystem that had been ailing long before the spill.
Update on July 10. Here is another point of view, not so optimistic.