Details have yet to be officially confirmed by the Department of Justice, but reports are coming out that BP has agreed to pay somewhere between $3-5 billion to settle criminal charges stemming from the Gulf Oil Spill. The fine is set to be the largest in US history by a factor of three.
Furthermore, two to four BP employees will face manslaughter charges for the deaths of the 11 people who died when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded.
The AP says BP will plead guilty to lying to Congress about the volume of oil that was actually flowing into the Gulf from the ruptured well.
BBC News reports that the settlement does not cover outstanding actions against BP for damages under the Clean Water Act, nor claims made against the company by individual states.
Reacting to the preliminary news of the settlement, Greenpeace senior investigator Mark Flogel says:
Today’s announcement of a proposed settlement fails every aspect of the commonly accepted notion of penalty. This fine amounts to a rounding error for a corporation the size of BP. It is far less than Shell Oil has already spent in the Arctic without yet commencing serious operations. Nothing in this proposed settlement gives any oil company incentive to be more careful in future operations.
In the third quarter of 2012 alone BP made a profit of $5.5 billion.
UPDATE 11:55am: The final info on the exact fine BP will pay has been released.
New York Times reports that BP has agreed to a $4 billion fine, to be paid out over five years, with an additional $500 million in other payments. It will plead guilty to 14 criminal charges stemming from the Gulf Oil Spill.
Not only that, but up to four employees may be charged with manslaughter. But, will the fine actually encourage companies to be more careful?