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BP To Pay Largest Criminal Fine In U.S. History For Deepwater Horizon Disaster

After two years, the litigation is not yet over since BP faces damages from Gulf states and additional civil charges from the Justice Department.
 
 
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US Coast Guard picture shows fire boats battling the blazing remnants of the BP-operated off shore oil rig, Deepwater Horizon, in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
Photo Credit: APF

 
 
 
 

BP has agreed to pay a  historic $4.5 billion criminal fine over a six-year period, after pleading guilty to 11 felony counts and criminal charges for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster that killed 11 workers. After two years, the litigation is not yet over since BP faces damages from Gulf states and additional civil charges from the Justice Department.

Much of the fine, $2.4 billion, will go to Gulf of Mexico restoration, where 5 billion barrels of oil spilled over 87 days. Even now, an estimated 1 million barrels of oil remain in the waters, with excess oil washing up on Louisiana beaches as recently as September. Oil-soaked pelicans and other wildlife continue to wash up on shores. The disaster’s other legacies have produced  eyeless shrimp and fish with lesions.

BP has earned tens of billions in profit since the 2010 disaster. In the last quarter alone, BP earned $5.4 billion net profit, bringing its total for the year to $9.7 billion. The company retains $15 billion in cash reserves, and has also spent $15 million lobbying Congress since 2011.

Rebecca Leber is a research assistant for the ThinkProgress war room. She graduated from the University of Rochester and holds a B.A. in political science and English with a minor in economics.

 
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