Judge Approves BP's Plea to Manslaughter

A federal judge approved BP's guilty plea for manslaughter and an agreement to pay a record $4 billion in criminal penalties for the oil company's role in the 2010 oil spill off the Gulf of Mexico, The Associated Press reported. BP agreed in November to plead guilty to charges involving the workers' deaths and for lying to Congress about the size of the spill from its broken well, which spewed more than 200 million gallons of oil, much of which ended up in the Gulf and soiled the shorelines of several states. U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance heard testimony from relatives of 11 workers who died when BP's blown-out Macondo well triggered an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and started the spill. The plea deal doesn't resolve the federal government's civil claims against BP, as the company could pay billions more in penalties for environmental damage. BP has agreed to settle with lawyers of Gulf Coast residents and business who say the spill cost them money, while environmental groups like the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation have already received $2.4 billion in payments.

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