Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era
BP plea in Gulf spill is upheld
NEW YORK TIMES
HOUSTON -- A federal judge in New Orleans on Tuesday approved an agreement between BP and the Justice Department for the company to plead guilty to manslaughter and pay $4 billion in criminal penalties for the 2010 oil well blowout and spill in the Gulf of Mexico that left 11 workers dead.
Under the settlement, reached in November, BP pleaded guilty to 14 criminal charges. Its payment of $4 billion will resolve all criminal charges related to the Macondo well blowout and destruction of the Deepwater Horizon rig, which spilled millions of barrels of oil and fouled hundreds of miles of shore along the gulf coast.
Several dozen people submitted letters to Judge Sarah S. Vance, of U.S. District Court in New Orleans, requesting that she reject the plea agreement. Some wanted additional financial compensation, while others requested stronger punishment for BP supervisors or a more powerful apology.
"If I had my wish," wrote Ashley Manuel, daughter of Keith Blair Manuel, one of the 11 rig workers who died, "it would be that the three representatives from BP who sat in my grandparents' living room and lied to my face about the accident would sit in jail and feel the same pain and loss I feel."
Arguing in favor of the agreement, the British-based company filed an apology with the court, saying it "deeply regrets the tragic loss of life caused by the Deepwater Horizon blowout and explosion as well as the impact of the spill on the Gulf Coast region."