BP will admit crimes, pay $4.5 billion in Gulf spill settlement

British oil company BP today announced it will pay $4.5 billion "in fines and other payments to the government," and plead guilty to 14 criminal charges resulting from the giant oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico two years ago. How much of that do you imagine will make it to the poor and working-class families whose homes, bodies, and lives were damaged or destroyed by the toxic disaster?

Here is BP's statement. Coverage here in the New York Times, and here in the LA Times.

Via @meghangordon, an interesting footnote: The National Academy of Sciences gets $350 million of the BP settlement to study human health and environmental protection in the Gulf of Mexico.

Boing Boing's BP spill archives are here.

Image, via NYT: The explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico that was connected to a well owned by BP killed 11 workers and spilled millions of barrels of oil. (photo: US Coast Guard)

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  1. This is the criminal portion, not the civil portion.  Didn’t BP already pay a lot (probably not enough I’m sure) during the period directly after the spill?  Remember the republican congressman being upset that BP was a victim of a “shakedown” by Obama?  If I recall right it was something like $20 billion that they were paying for the clean up and compensation to those harmed by the spill.  Here’s a source from last year with some of the numbers: http://www.ksdk.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=267872 (via wikipedia).

    1.  And that’s what gets me upset.  Who’s going to jail for all the felony manslaughter charges??  No one.  It’s a disgrace and exactly what the corporate shield protects against.

  2. None of the $4.5B will go to the poor and working-class families; there’s a previous $7.8B settlement waiting to be signed off on for that. This settlement also doesn’t prevent civil Clean Water Act claims from the DOJ and state governments.

    1. This settlement ideally lays the groundwork (admitted crimes) for those claims. And I’m glad for it, if it does.

  3. I think it’s a “tragedy of the first proportion” that the poor plutocrats of BP had to pay this fine.

    Obviously I’m joking and thank GOD the republicans lost.

  4. Out of curiosity, does anyone know how much in federal subsidies BP will be getting from the Federal Gov’t this year?

  5. That’s all well and good, but who’s going to jail for the 11 people on the platform who died?  

    Compensation for the victims is nice (if any money makes it to them), but if corporations can have free speech as part of corporate personhood, we need to be able to put those corporations’ leaders in jail for outright criminal behavior, or be able to impose the “death penalty” on corporations responsible for crimes and revoke their ability to do business in the states.  

    1. I heard they pinned some manslaughter charges on the supervisor.  Basically the lowest rung on the ladder they could conceivably blame.

      1. Wow.  That’s disgusting.  The executive that ordered corners to be cut and concrete to not be poured should be going to jail. 

  6. Yet another topic that didn’t come up in the election campaigns. Since this is for criminal charges, who’s going to prison?

    1. This is exactly what I said to my wife last night “OK, so the *company* is a criminal, right? So can we put BP in ‘jail’ at ‘hard labor’ for a few years? Have the government restrict their corporate movements and take all the products of their labors, paying them a couple of pennies per hour into an account that they can have once they’re done?”

      Why is this not the other side of the “Citizen’s United” coin? If corporations are people why can’t they be locked up when they commit crimes?

    1. Hmmm, that would be the equivalent of a prison sentence if corporations are people.

      Or maybe we need something like the old Athenian ostracon punishment. Wealthy troublemakers were put into temporary exile and their assets were turned over to a temporary manager. The exile was allowed  money to live on and all his property was returned after the exile.

  7. Well, since corporations are people and this particular person named BP has committed crimes (possibly even manslaughter) then clearly BP is going to jail right?

    1. I was wondering exactly this last night – sorry for the copypasta but I already made a response to EH above about the same thing:

      “OK, so the *company* is a criminal, right? So can we put BP in ‘jail’ at ‘hard labor’ for a few years? Have the government restrict their corporate movements and take all the products of their labors, paying them a couple of pennies per hour into an account that they can have once they’re done?”

      Why is this not the other side of the “Citizen’s United” coin? If corporations are people why can’t they be locked up when they commit crimes?

  8. BP has not paid any of the residents of the area, who are also suffering innumerable physical ailments a single penny.

  9. perhaps if all fuckups like this one were demanded to pay a few billion $$ for each one companies would find it cheaper to invest in better safety measures or even renewables.

  10. Xeni asks: “How much of that do you imagine will make it to the poor and working-class families whose homes, bodies, and lives were damaged or destroyed by the toxic disaster? ”

    BP Answers:

    Since May 2010, more than $6.2 billion had been paid to individuals and businesses through the claims process. During 2011, individuals and businesses received $3.1 billion in payments through the Gulf Coast Claims Facility. More than 189,000 individuals and businesses claimants accepted full and final settlements, while about 33,000 received interim payments.

  11. How are these settlements applied? Are they placed in a general fund? Used to clean up the area? What?

  12. Well, BP sure as heck was more efficient clearing up the aftermarth than the US Govt. post Katrina. BP, as the foreign company, gets the blame & has to pay big fines, and Transocean and Halliburton not… 

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