McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Breaking News

January 29, 2013

Judge OKs $4B BP oil spill criminal settlement

NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge on Tuesday approved an agreement for BP PLC to plead guilty to manslaughter and other charges and pay a record $4 billion in criminal penalties for the company’s role in the 2010 rig explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance said the plea deal was “just punishment” considering the alternatives to the settlement, including the risk that a trial could result in a lower fine for BP. Before she ruled, Vance heard emotional testimony from relatives of 11 workers who died when BP’s blown-out Macondo well triggered an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and started the spill.

“I’ve heard and I truly understand your feelings and the losses you suffered,” she said. Billy Anderson, whose 35-year-old son, Jason, of Midfield, Texas, died in the blast, recalled the trauma of watching the disaster play out on television. “These men suffered a horrendous death,” he said. “They were basically cremated alive and not at their choice.”

BP agreed in November to plead guilty to charges involving the workers’ deaths and for lying to Congress about the size of the spill from its broken well, which spewed more than 200 million gallons of oil. Much of it ended up in the Gulf and soiled the shorelines of several states.

The company could have withdrawn from the agreement if Vance had rejected it. BP America vice president Luke Keller apologized to the relatives of the workers who died and for the spill’s environmental damage to the Gulf Coast. “BP knows there is nothing we can say to diminish their loss,” he said. “The lives lost and those forever changed will stay with us. We are truly sorry.”

Courtney Kemp-Robertson, whose 27-year-old husband, Roy Wyatt Kemp, of Jonesville, La., died on the rig, said workers had referred to it as the “well from hell” before the explosion. “By cutting corners, they gambled with the lives of 126 crew members to save a few dollars,” she told the judge before turning to address Keller. “They gambled and you lost.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Breaking News
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Palestinians and Israeli Soldiers Clash Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kerry: No Deal Yet on 7-Day Gaza Truce Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Gaza Residents Mourn Dead Amid Airstrikes Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp Cumberbatch Brings 'Penguins' to Comic-Con Raw: Air Algerie Crash Site in Mali Power to Be Restored After Wash. Wildfire Crashed Air Algerie Plane Found in Mali Israel Mulls Ceasefire Amid Gaza Offensive
NDN Video
Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.