BP’s Record-Breaking $4.5 Billion Settlement Is Not Enough
Almost 32 months since the Deepwater oil rig explosion killed 11 men and spilled millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, BP has agreed to pay a record-breaking $4.5 billion in criminal and civil charges. As part of the settlement, the company plead guilty to 11 counts of felony for the deaths of the 11 lives lost on the oil rig. In the plea, the company also admitted they lied to Congress about true size of the oil spill.
Chris Jones, an attorney in Baton Rouge who lost his brother on the rig, said of BP's guilty plea: "I just want Gordon back but that's not going to happen. … Unfortunately all BP has to do is write a check and they're back in operation."
The record-breaking settlement, as Jones posits, won't put much of a dent into company coffers. While BP posted a $17.2 billion loss in the quarter when the explosion took place, it has been profitable since, according to CNN. Over the course of the subsequent nine quarters, the oil company tallied total profits of $43 billion.
The $4.5 billion settlement seems meager when you count the costs it's supposed to cover—the deaths of 11 men who worked for BP and were killed in the fiery explosion of the oil rig and the millions of barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico that irreversibly destroyed the wildlife residing there and disrupting community localities.
Larry Schweiger, president of the National Wildlife Federation, called the recent settlement "a good down payment."
"We look forward to working toward a full settlement that will not only hold BP and all other parties responsible for the devastation of the Gulf oil disaster," he said, "but deter future violations by sending a clear message that America holds reckless polluters fully accountable."
He's right of course. The far-reaching damage that was caused by this disaster has yet to be addressed, but BP will be facing another round of settlements in February when they sit down with 100,000 businesses and individuals who were harmed by the spill, which is estimated to have cost $7.8 billion.
Sydney Hofferth is a Communications Intern for Campus Progress. You can follow her on twitter at @squidhoff10.