Judge OK’s BP Plea Deal, Families Not Happy
Relatives of workers killed in the 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig appeared in a New Orleans court room and gave "Gut wrenching" testimony before federal judge Sarah Vance approved an agreement with BP PLC. The company pleads guilty to manslaughter and other charges. BP will pay $4 billion in criminal penalties for its role in the explosion and resulting oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Several family members expressed dissatisfaction with the arrangement.
"These men suffered a horrendous death. They were basically cremated alive and not at their choice." - Billy Anderson
"By cutting corners, they gambled with the lives of 126 crew members to save a few dollars." - Courtney Kemp-Robertson
"BP knows there is nothing we can say to diminish their loss.The lives lost and those forever changed will stay with us. We are truly sorry." - BP America vice president Luke Keller
BP agreed last November to plead guilty to charges involving the workers' deaths and for lying to Congress about the size of the spill. "The Well From Hell" gushed more than 200 million gallons of oil. and damaged the coastlines of several states.
Vance told victims' family members that she read their "truly gut-wrenching" written statements and factored them into her decision. She went on to say BP executives should have personally apologized to family members long ago.
"I think BP should have done that out of basic humanity." -Judge Sarah Vance
The deal doesn't resolve the federal government's civil claims against BP. The company could pay billions more in penalties for environmental damage. BP has also agreed to a settlement with attorneys for Gulf Coast residents and business people that will cost the company nearly $8 billion dollars.
BP agreed to pay nearly $1.3 billion in fines, the largest corporate criminal penalty in US history. Payments of nearly $2.4 billion will go to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. $350 million will be paid to the National Academy of Sciences.
A separate settlement has been reached with rig owner Transocean Ltd.
Four individuals are still facing separate criminal charges. Rig supervisors Robert Kaluza and Donald Vidrine are each charged with 11 counts of manslaughter. BP's former vice president of exploration for the Gulf of Mexico David Rainey faces charges of lying to Congress about the amount of oil that was spilled. Kurt Mix was charged with deleting text messages about the BP's spill response.
I thought you should know the names of the people who died......
Jason Anderson, 35, of Midfield, Texas. A father of two. Aaron Dale "Bubba" Burkeen, 37, of Philadelphia, Miss. His death came on his wedding anniversary. Donald Clark, 49, of Newellton, La. He was one of six workers scheduled to leave the rig on April 21, the day after the blast. Stephen Ray Curtis, 40, of Georgetown, La., Curtis was married and had two teenagers. Gordon Jones, 28, of Baton Rouge, La. Jones arrived on the rig the day before the explosion. He died 10 minutes after talking to his pregnant wife, Michelle Jones. Their son, Max, was born three weeks later. Roy Wyatt Kemp, 27, Jonesville, La.His daughter's birthday was 3 days before the explosion. Kemp was one of six workers scheduled to leave the rig on April 21. Karl Kleppinger Jr., 38, of Natchez, Miss. Kleppinger was a veteran of the first Gulf War and the father of one child. Keith Blair Manuel, 56, of Gonzales, La. Manuel had three daughters. Dewey A. Revette, 48, of State Line, Miss. He was one of six workers scheduled to leave the rig on April 21. Shane M. Roshto, 22, of Liberty, Miss. He was one of six workers who were set to leave the rig on April 21. Adam Weise, 24, Yorktown, Texas. He was one of six workers scheduled to leave the rig on April 21.