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BP oil blowout in Gulf of Mexico
Two and a half years after millions of gallons of crude oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico from one of BP's deepwater undersea wells, the company has pleaded guilty to 11 felonies and been assessed $4.5 billion in fines. In addition, two company employees will be charged with manslaughter in the deaths of 11 employees who were working on the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform at the time of the gigantic blowout that polluted the gulf's waters and caused massive economic and environmental wreckage.
“Today’s agreement is consistent with BP’s position in the ongoing civil litigation that this was an accident resulting from multiple causes, involving multiple parties, as found by other official investigations,” the company said in a news release.[...]

Even with a settlement on the criminal claims, BP would still be subject to other claims, including federal civil claims and claims for damages to natural resources.

In particular, this settlement does not include what is potentially the largest penalty: fines under the Clean Water Act. The potential fine for the spill under the Clean Water Act is $1,100 to $4,300 per barrel spilled. That means the fine could be as much as $21 billion, according to Peter Hutton of RBC Capital Markets in London.

In 2011, BP made $16 billion in profits. The first nine months of 2012, it made $9.7 billion.

Lorinda Pike, one of the members of the Daily Kos Gulf Watchers Group that has followed the unfolding story of the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig and consequent blowout through hundreds of diaries, noted in her post Wednesday night that:

[...] there had been speculation earlier this year that the delays and perception of 'silence' in regard to settlement issues were indications that any criminal aspects had to be determined first, and a criminal action against BP could substantially affect the civil parts of the case, including any disbursements to the plaintiffs involved.
Transocean, the owner and operator of the rig, also faces criminal and civil liability.

•••

HoundDog has a post on the subject here.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 10:08 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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