Critics of the U.S. Justice Department’s $4.5-billion agreement with BP to settle criminal fines related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill think the oil giant got off the hook too easy. Among those critics is Billy Fred Anderson, a father whose son died in the April 2010 explosion that destroyed BP’s oil rig.
Mr. Anderson stated his harsh opinion of the agreement in a court filing under a law that permits victims to comment on deals reached between the Justice Department and parties pleading guilty to criminal charges.
BP “killed my son in their efforts to speed up operations, to save time and money,” Mr. Anderson said in the document, submitted to the U.S. District Court in New Orleans on Tuesday.
The $4.5-billion agreement resolves 11 felony charges of manslaughter, one for each of the rig workers who perished in the Deepwater Horizon explosion. The deal also settles one felony obstruction charge for lying to Congress about the amount of oil gushing from the blown-out well.
In his filing, Mr. Anderson claims that his son warned him that “if BP continues to change procedures at the last minute to save time and money, even though we have told them it is not safe, they will end up killing us all.”
BP still faces a civil trial in February that will measure BP’s responsibility for the oil spill, which flooded the northeastern Gulf of Mexico with an estimated 206 million gallons of oil. Civil fines against BP for the record spill could vary tremendously, based on whether or not the court finds gross negligence played a role in causing the spill – a charge that U.S. prosecutors have been pressing.
The Telegraph (UK)