BP America is pleading guilty in two plea agreements and a deferred prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice, ending governmental investigation of company wrongdoing related to the March 2005 explosion at its Texas City refinery. Houston Public Radio’s Ed Mayberry reports.
BP will pay $373 million in fines and restitution under the deals. It resolves criminal liability relating to pipeline leaks in Alaska. And about $50 million in fines settles an investigation into the deadly Texas City refinery blast that killed 15 people and injured more than 170. U.S. Attorney Don DeGabrielle says the agreements are an admission that BP failed to meet the requirements of law.
“There was some serious and collective criminal mismanagement that led to the loss of those lives. And the significance in the amount of the fine–the largest ever–also I hopes sends a message. I hope it’s not ignored by other companies. I hope they’re paying very close attention to this.”
DeGabrielle notes that it’s the company itself that is being convicted and fined.
“This really is the first in the United States since 1990 for a felony conviction. Companies have been investigated, certainly, by the EPA, by the FBI, by OSHA, TSEQ, for violations of the Clean Air and Clean Water Act. But as far as actually culminating and resulting in both a charge and a conviction for the felony privisions of the Clean Air Act, this is the first.”
There’s new management at BP, and possibly a new spirit of cooperation.
“BP has been cooperating throughout the terms of our investigation, and I will say that lately they have shown a strong interest in getting this resolved. I’m certain that they have interest in resolving, as they have today, all three separate episodes of criminal conduct throughout their operations in the United States.”
BP’s also paying $173 million in fines and restitution for a price manipulation case. Ed Mayberry, Houston Public Radio News.