The Department of Justice and BP announced a settlement today which will see BP pay the largest criminal penalty in U.S. history, plead guilty to 11 felony counts of misconduct or neglect of a ship’s officers, one felony count of obstruction of Congress, and one misdemeanor count each under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Clean Water Act.
From the Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Two men who worked for BP during the 2010 Gulf oil spill disaster have been charged with manslaughter and a third with lying to federal investigators, according to indictments made public Thursday, hours after BP announced it was paying $4.5 billion in a settlement with the U.S. government over the disaster.
A federal indictment unsealed in New Orleans claims BP well site leaders Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine acted negligently in their supervision of key safety tests performed on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig before the explosion killed 11 workers in April 2010. The indictment says Kaluza and Vidrine failed to phone engineers onshore to alert them of problems in the drilling operation.
Another indictment charges David Rainey, who was BP’s vice president of exploration for the Gulf of Mexico, on counts of obstruction of Congress and false statements. The indictment claims the former executive lied to federal investigators when they asked him how he calculated a flow rate estimate for BP’s blown-out well in the days after the disaster. [...]
“This marks the largest single criminal fine and the largest total criminal resolution in the history of the United States,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said at a news conference in New Orleans.
According to the Associated Press the settlement includes $1.3 billion in criminal fines as well as payments of $2.4 billion to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, $350 million to the National Academy of Sciences and about $500 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
And this is hardly the last BP will hear of it.
Holder also said a civil lawsuit will go ahead in February seeking billions more in civil penalties.
A federal judge in New Orleans is weighing a separate, proposed $7.8 billion settlement between BP and more than 100,000 businesses and individuals who say they were harmed by the spill.
Republicans in Congress would like to apologize for this shakedown.