BP to pay record fine in Gulf oil spill; 2 to face manslaughter charges
Oil giant BP said Thursday it has agreed to pay the largest criminal penalty in U.S. history for the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The company announced that it will pay $4.5 billion to settle with the federal government. The largest previous corporate criminal penalty assessed by the Department of Justice was the $1.2 billion fine imposed on drug maker Pfizer in 2009.
Meanwhile, a source close to the case confirmed to CBS News Thursday that two BP employees face manslaughter charges over the death of 11 people in the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that triggered the massive spill.
The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record about the deal, also confirmed that BP will plead guilty to obstruction for lying to Congress for its statements on the size of the leak.
Attorney General Eric Holder is in New Orleans and is expected to announce the plea agreement at a press conference later Thursday, CBS News reports.
The Deepwater Horizon rig, 50 miles off the Louisiana coast, sank after the April 20, 2010, explosion. The well on the sea floor spewed an estimated 206 million gallons of crude oil, soiling sensitive tidal estuaries and beaches, killing wildlife and shutting vast areas of the Gulf to commercial fishing.
The spill exposed lax government oversight and led to a temporary ban on deepwater drilling while officials and the oil industry studied the risks, worked to make it safer and developed better disaster plans.
BP’s environmentally-friendly image was tarnished, and independent gas station owners who fly the BP flag claimed they lost business from customers who were upset over the spill. BP chief executive Tony Hayward stepped down after the company’s repeated gaffes, including his statement at the height of the crisis: "I’d like my life back."
Read the full article at: cbsnews.com