The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

January 29, 2013

BREAKING: BP pleads guilty to 14 criminal charges in oil disaster

By Jean Cole

— BP pleaded guilty today to 14 criminal charges under federal law, including charges for manslaughter and obstruction of Congress in the massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The company's sentence sets aside millions of dollars to restore Alabama’s coast.

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, who attended the hearing in New Orleans, said BP’s conviction and sentence “moves us one step closer to getting justice for the citizens of Alabama.”

The April 20 explosion of the Deep Horizon well caused oil to flow uncontrollably for three months then continue to seep until September, fouling the Gulf near the Mississippi Delta with 4.9 million barrels of oil, the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry.

Strange said “the State of Alabama’s claims for economic and natural resource damages were not resolved by today’s conviction.”

Alabama’s economic claims, among others, are currently set for trial in New Orleans on Feb. 25.

“I will continue devoting my time to holding BP and the other responsible parties fully accountable for the devastation they wrought on Alabama’s environment and our economy," Strange said. "I look forward to presenting Alabama’s case that BP was grossly negligent when we have our day in court next month.”