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A Louisiana-based oil company will pay $43 million in civil penalties and damages and $432 million to a clean-up trust fund over a spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: Taylor Energy's former Gulf of Mexico offshore oil production facility is the source of the longest-running oil spill in U.S. history, ongoing since 2004, per a Department of Justice statement.

  • Nicole LeBoeuf, director of NOAA's National Ocean Service, said in a statement the proposed settlement "represents an important down payment to address impacts" of the spill — which began when a Taylor Energy production platform some 10 miles off Louisiana's coast collapsed during Hurricane Ivan.
  • The resulting oil discharge "continues to this day," the DOJ noted.

Details: Under the settlement agreement that's subject to final court approval, Taylor must dismiss three existing lawsuits it filed against the federal government. But it does not admit any liability.

The big picture: Ivan triggered a mudslide, causing the Taylor production platform to collapse, with 16 of the 25 damaged undersea wells leaking since then, per the New York Times.

  • Taylor managed to cap the others but said it couldn't do so with the rest because they were "buried under so much mud and debris," per the NYT.
  • U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Will Watson, sector commander in New Orleans, noted in a statement that for the past three years teams had removed more than 800,000 gallons of oil that had been discharging into the Gulf of Mexico.

What they're saying: "Despite being a catalyst for beneficial environmental technological innovation, the damage to our ecosystem caused by this 17-year-old oil spill is unacceptable," said Duane Evans, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

For the record: Taylor "sold its oil and gas assets in 2008 and ceased all drilling and production operations," according to a website statement. It now exists today solely to respond to the spill.

The other side: Taylor couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

  • The company said in a statement to CBS' "60 Minutes" when the show covered the spill last month that Taylor "has retained and relied upon the world's foremost experts to study and then recommend a plan of action ... We continue to advocate for a response driven by science."

What's next: The U.S. District Court will decide whether to approve the settlement's proposed consent decree at a date to be scheduled.

Go deeper

Hope King, author of Closer
27 mins ago - Economy & Business

Peloton pumps its brakes

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Peloton’s popularity is falling as swiftly as it shot up.

Why it matters: Not all pandemic habits stick around. Peloton's trajectory over the past two years exemplifies how challenging it's been for companies to gauge shifts in consumer demand — particularly in sectors heavily altered by the pandemic.

First look: Senators propose bill to ban corporate PACs

Sens. Jon Ossoff and Mark Kelly. Photos: Chip Somodevilla (left), Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

Sens. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) and Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) will soon propose a bill prohibiting for-profit corporations from establishing and managing political action committees, according to a copy of the legislation obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: The introduction of "The Ban Corporate PACs Act" comes amid heightened scrutiny on Capitol Hill regarding money in politics, including efforts to bar companies from influencing political campaigns and federal elections. It would likely face a court challenge and First Amendment concerns.

2 hours ago - Technology

Exclusive: YouTube shuts down two Oath Keepers channels

Stewart Rhodes, founder of Oath Keepers. (Photo: Aaron C. Davis/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

YouTube has deactivated two channels linked to the Oath Keepers militia group whose members have been charged in relation to the January 6 Capitol riot, the company told Axios.

The big picture: Social media platforms that were used to plan or promote the Capitol attack have moved with varying degrees of speed to bar the accounts involved.