Plea Agreement for BP Oil Spill
Written by Faith Anderson on January 29, 2013
BP Acknowledges Role in Devastating Blast, Oil Spill
Two high-ranking supervisors on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig involved in the blast that killed eleven workers have been indicted on 23 counts – including manslaughter – for allegedly ignoring signs of a potential blowout on the rig. Vice president of BP America Inc., Luke Keller, apologized again in court for the company’s role in the devastating blast. “We – and by that I mean the men and women of the management of BP, its board of directors, and its many employees – are deeply sorry for the tragic loss of the 11 men who died and the others who were injured that day,” said Keller. “Our guilty plea makes clear, BP understands and acknowledges its role in that tragedy, and we apologize – BP apologizes – to all those injured and especially to the families of lost loved ones. BP is also sorry for the harm to the environment that resulted from the spill, and we apologize to the individuals and communities who were injured.”
Oil Giant Could Face Billions More in Penalties
BP’s plea agreement is with the oil company and not with indicted individual employees, so it won’t result in any person going to jail. However, those separate criminal cases involving the eleven workers who were killed in the blast remain in litigation. In addition to the $4 billion in fines BP has agreed to pay for criminal penalties, the oil company also agreed to pay $535 million over the course of three years to settle claims with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that BP concealed information from investors. The company has not, however, agreed with the Justice Department on a separate civil settlement involving state and federal claims of damages to natural resources. With this, BP could face an additional $5 billion to nearly $20 billion for violations of the Clean Water Act if the oil company is found guilty of gross negligence or willful misconduct. That case is being heard by another federal court in New Orleans.