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Judge OKs BP plea deal despite objections; pollution case looms

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Judge OKs BP plea deal despite objections; pollution case looms

Jan 30, 2013, 11:48 am CDT

A federal judge on Tuesday approved a plea deal in which BP agreed to pay $4 billion to resolve criminal charges over the Gulf oil spill.

U.S District Judge Sarah Vance of New Orleans approved the deal on Tuesday despite emotional testimony and letters from several dozen people who objected to the deal, the New York Times reports. Eleven workers were killed in the disaster; the guilty plea includes 11 counts for seaman’s manslaughter.

BP says it has already paid more than $24 billion for the cleanup and for legal settlements, the Times says. The company also faces potential pollution fines of up to $21 billion, according to the story. One issue in the pollution litigation is whether spilled oil collected in the cleanup efforts should count toward the barrel count used to assess Clean Water Act fines. BP argues it should be excluded.

The Los Angeles Times also has coverage.

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