BP to Pay $4.5 Billion in Oil Spill Settlement

U.S. Attorney General speaks about the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill settlement and criminal penalties at 400 Poydras Tower in the Central Business District of in New Orleans, La. Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. Holder said the settlement and indictments aren't the end of federal authorities' efforts and that the criminal investigation is continuing. Holder says much of the money BP has agreed to pay will be used to restore the environment in the Gulf. (AP Photo/Matthew Hinton)
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NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Oil giant BP says it has agreed to pay $4.5 billion in a wide-ranging settlement with the U.S. government over the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The London-based multinational company said in a statement Thursday it agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges including 11 felony counts of misconduct related to the deaths of 11 men in the rig explosion that triggered the oil spill. It also agreed to plead guilty to one felony count of obstruction of Congress.

The settlement total of $4.5 billion over five years includes nearly $1.3 billion in criminal fines -- the largest such penalty ever -- along with payments to several government agencies.


MOBILE, Ala. (AP) -- Leaders and activists on the Alabama coast are pleased BP will face criminal penalties for the Gulf oil spill, but they say civil payments are the real key.

The executive director of Mobile Baykeeper, Casi Callaway, said Thursday oil still washes on to the Alabama coast daily and criminal sanctions are warranted. She wants to know how much money will be available for repairing the environment.

Gulf Shores Mayor Robert Craft says he's glad BP will face criminal penalties. But he's more interested in civil penalties and whether fine money eventually reaches states and local communities that suffered because of the spill.

A source tells The Associated Press that BP has agreed to pay the largest criminal penalty in U.S. history, totaling billions of dollars, for the spill.

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange Remarks:

“Today's announcement that BP has agreed to plead guilty to 14 criminal charges under Federal law moves us one step closer to getting justice for the citizens of Alabama and the entire Gulf Coast. BP's criminal acts levied economic and environmental damages of historic proportions upon Alabama, and these damages are not covered under today's agreement. Accordingly, in my role as the States' Coordinating Counsel, I will continue devoting my time to holding BP and the other responsible parties accountable for their acts, and I look forward to presenting Alabama's case that BP was grossly negligent when we have our day in court.”

Fla. Sen. Bill Nelson Remarks:

Washington, D.C. – The Justice Department announced today that more than half of a record-breaking $4 billion criminal settlement with BP over the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill will head directly to Gulf Coast states impacted by the spill.

According to the Justice Department, $2.4 billion is expected to head to Gulf Coast states. Half of that pot will go towards protecting and preserving coastal environments in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas. The other $1.2 billion will go towards coastal restoration efforts in Louisiana.

In addition, BP will plead guilty to 11 counts of felony manslaughter, obstruction of justice for lying to lawmakers about the amount of oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico, and violations of the Clean Water and Migratory Bird Treaty Acts. Two BP employees will also face charges of manslaughter for the 11 deaths caused by Deepwater Horizon explosion.

“I’m happy that the Justice Department brought the hammer down on BP and continues to hold them accountable for the hurt they’ve caused the people, businesses and environment of the Gulf Coast,” Nelson said today. “Now that this is worked out, it’s time to move on to the civil side of things and get Gulf Coast residents every cent they deserve.”

Today’s proposed settlement does not cover civil damages the federal government is also pursuing against BP under The Clean Water Act. If the court finds the company was grossly negligent, the federal civil case could result in BP being held liable for as much as $21 billion.

Nelson, who co-authored The RESTORE Act, which directs the lion’s share of civil fines collected from BP directly back to Gulf Coast communities for environmental and economic restoration, has been at the forefront of efforts to hold BP accountable.

He was one of the first lawmakers who asked BP to make video of the spill site public. He began pressing for the video after a brief snippet of the leak released by BP led a number of scientists to conclude the spill was much worse than the company originally said. A week-long tug-of-war between Nelson and BP ended when the Florida Democrat posted a live video feed from the Gulf floor in May of 2010.


WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), a senior member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, issued the following comments today regarding the announcement that BP had reached a financial settlement with the government on criminal charges arising from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill:

“After the oil spill, I was emphatic that BP should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law and even to the extent of its existence. This deadly and costly tragedy was avoidable, and those responsible should be held to account. While we have not yet seen all of the settlement terms, today's agreement on criminal liability appears to be a strong step forward in that process. My firm expectation is that the Department of Justice will also zealously pursue recovery of the maximum amount of Clean Water Act civil fines. As Congress determined in the RESTORE Act, which I fought for along with other Gulf Coast members, the Clean Water Act civil penalty dollars are critically important to the long-term economic and environmental recovery of the Gulf Coast.”

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