BP Pleads Guilty

ProPublica’s Abrahm Lustgarten reports, “BP agreed to plead guilty today to charges of manslaughter, environmental crimes, and lying to Congress in connection with the 2010 Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion, which killed 11 workers and sent as much as 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.  As part of a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, the company will pay $4.5 billion in what is the largest fine ever levied on a corporation in the United States.

“The charges against the company stem from BP engineers’ decision to ignore a critically important pressure test on the Macondo well structure that could have prevented the deadly blowout and explosion, and for misrepresenting the amount of oil leaking from the open well head after the mammoth drilling rig sank in nearly 5,000 feet of water.

“In a separate and unexpected set of charges, three BP managers were indicted for their roles in operating the rig and for misrepresenting facts to Congress, marking the first time that any senior BP personnel have been criminally charged for their roles in the disaster.”

Lustgarten continues, “The criminal settlement is separate from the $7.8 billion agreement BP reached with Gulf plaintiffs earlier this year. It also does not resolve the outstanding civil suits brought against the company by states and the federal government, which could cost the company as much as additional $22 billion.”

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