$4.5 billion: BP settles criminal suitNov 20th, 2012 | By Jessica Gonzalez | Category: news
BP has pleaded guilty to criminal charges and agreed to $4.5 billion in fines, more than half of which will be dedicated to environmental and coastal restoration efforts
along the Gulf Coast, according to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. The amount is three-times more than any other criminal settlement in U.S. history.
The company has also pleaded guilty in to 11 felony counts of misconduct or neglect of ships’ officers, in respect to the 11 fatalities in the explosion in April 2010.
“Under the terms of the agreement we announce today, about $2.4 billion of the criminal recovery funds will be dedicated to environmental restoration, preservation, and conservation efforts throughout this region – including barrier-island creation and river diversion projects right here in Louisiana,” Holder said at a New Orleans press conference.
A Department of Justice fact sheet released on November 14 notes that of the $2.4 billion marked for restoration, $1.2 billion will be dedicated to coastal rehabilitation in
Louisiana. The $4.5 billion total is for criminal charges only, and does not include civil penalties, which have yet to be settled between BP and the Justice Department.
“This is a tough and robust penalty that is more than three times larger than any other past settlement, and is structured in a unique way to leverage private funds, maximizing the settlement dollars,” said Senator Mary Landrieu in a statement to the press. “I am encouraged that the Justice Department is respecting the spirit of the RESTORE Act by sending nearly $2.4 billion of the fine money to the Gulf Coast and $1.2 billion specifically to Louisiana.”
Councilchair Byron Marinovich echoes Landrieu’s sentiments. Marinovich says that the high settlement amount could be indication of what others who filed claims independently can expect. He says he is pleased to see money earmarked for coastal restoration in Louisiana.
“I think the settlement shows that BP is ready to step up to the plate and take responsibility,” Marinovich said. “I’m glad we can finally see some money come in to start restoring our coast.”
Parish President Billy Nungesser could not be reached for comment.
The criminal settlement is completely separate of pending civil fines associated with the Clean Water Act, which will be distributed in line with the RESTORE Act, and Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) process.
“Now is the time to focus all resources on addressing the largest component of our recovery— the restoration of the Gulf,” said Governor Bobby Jindal. “Addressing the
impacts of the explosion and spill through the Natural Resources Damage Assessment process and civil penalties associated with the Clean Water Act will ensure our longterm recovery.”
Three individuals will also stand trial for felony charges related to the disaster.
The breakdown of the BP criminal fine is as follows:
• Criminal fines to the Justice Department: $1.25 billion
over five years
• Fines to the SEC: $525 million over three years
• Restoration funding to the National Fish & Wildlife
Foundation: $2.4 billion, $1.2 billion is specifically
• Research funding to National Academy of Sciences: