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Mitsui unit to settle U.S. claims over Gulf oil spill


WASHINGTON (Reuters)—Mitsui & Co. Ltd.'s MOEX Offshore agreed with the U.S. Justice Department to pay at least $90 million to settle its liability in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the first government settlement involving the BP P.L.C. Macondo well.

Mitsui's MOEX will pay $70 million in civil penalties for violations of the Clean Water Act and spend at least $20 million on conservation projects in the Gulf states, the Justice Department said on Friday.

Some $45 million of the civil penalties will go to the federal government and the remaining $25 million will go to the states affected by the oil that polluted their Gulf waters and washed up on shore: Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.

The Justice Department said it was the largest civil penalty under the Clean Water Act and emphasized that the MOEX settlement did not affect others involved in the Deepwater Horizon spill.

"This landmark settlement is an important step—but only a first step—toward achieving accountability and protecting the future of the Gulf ecosystem by funding critical habitat preservation projects," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.

The firm, which had previously owned a 10% stake in the Macondo well, had settled with BP last year and agreed to pay $1.1 billion toward the cleanup costs.

The proposed settlement was filed in federal court in Louisiana and is subject to approval by a judge.

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