Big Oil, Big Spill, Big Fine - The Missourian: Opinion

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Big Oil, Big Spill, Big Fine

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Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 5:00 pm

If we didn’t already know just how big BP PLC is, we know now. The huge oil company has agreed to pay $4.5 billion in fines and restitution, and plead guilty to criminal charges in a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.

It is the largest fine ever levied by the Justice Department.

It was the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. The explosion killed 11 people in addition to doing billions of dollars in damage.

How many companies could pay a fine that large? It would force the vast majority of companies to go out of business. Not BP. It can handle the fine. The company still faces an even costlier battle with the government over civil penalties for the pollution caused when the drilling rig exploded, The Wall Street Journal reported. It took three months to cap the well.

Under the settlement, BP said it will plead guilty to 11 felony counts of “seaman’s manslaughter” relating to the deaths aboard the rig, admitting that its workers were negligent when they misinterpreted  key well safety tests, The Journal said. BP also faces a felony charge because it gave false information about the rate that the oil was leaking. Employees of BP also face charges.

The settlement appears to be appropriate considering the loss of life and damage caused. One of the losses to that area is the revenue from seafood and tourism industries.

It was a terrible tragedy that will take years to recover. There will be no recovery in instances. BP will recover sooner than the people and businesses in the disaster area because of thirst for oil in the country.

/opinion