WASHINGTON (November 15, 2012) — British Petroleum (BP) announced today it would pay a record $4.5 billion in fines and plead guilty to 14 criminal charges in relation to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which remains the largest environmental disaster in American history.
Below is a statement by Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, who served on the National Oil Spill Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling:
“This settlement is an important step in holding BP accountable and it’s especially significant that BP is pleading guilty to felonies. Still, no fine or admission of guilt can ever bring back the eleven lives lost. Nor can it make the communities of the Gulf whole again. What we hope it does is send a signal to Big Oil that unrelenting irresponsibility will no longer be tolerated. Human life, devastated communities and destroyed resources should never be the cost of doing business.
“What’s needed next is a sizable civil penalty to begin to address the damage that has been done to Gulf communities. We also need action by Congress and continued vigilance by the Administration to make sure something like this does not happen again.”