All the oil that spilled in the waters of Gulf of Mexico has already evaporated or cleaned up. The accident was already forgotten by most people, well except for those living in the area. Now it is time for the lawyers to do their part in cleaning up the mess of the worst oil spill in the history of the United States.
Last November 15, BP announced that it would pay $4.5 billion in fines and other payments to the government. The company would also plead guilty to the 14 criminal charges files against the company connected to the 2010 accident that caused the deaths of 11 crewmen and around 5 million barrels of crude spilled into the Gulf. The settlement is the largest single criminal fine in history.
Part of the settlement is the $4 billion connected to the criminal charges that include lying about the size of the spill. It also includes $525 million to security regulators. BP plead guilty to 11 felony charges of misconduct or neglect connected to the deaths of the crewmen.
What was not included in the settlement are the real criminal charges against real individuals. The Justice Department said that it has filed manslaughter charges against two top BP executives who were onboard the Deepwater Horizon when the accident happened. Charges of obstruction of Congress were also filed against David Rainey, vice president of exploration, for giving false statements regarding the rate that oil was coming out of the well.
Robert Dudley, BP’s chief executive, said that the settlement was a step forward for the oil company. He took over the position after Tony Heyward left the company. BP’s stocks dropped as a result of the company’s legal problems. Thursday’s settlement would resolve criminal and securities claims against the company but its legal problems are far from over. It could still face billions more in federal civil claims and environmental damages.