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Judge OKs $4B BP oil spill settlement

6:43 PM, Jan. 29, 2013  |  Comments
In this April 21, 2010 aerial file photo taken in the Gulf of Mexico more than 50 miles southeast of Venice, La., the Deepwater Horizon oil rig is seen burning. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
In this April 21, 2010 aerial file photo taken in the Gulf of Mexico more than 50 miles southeast of Venice, La., the Deepwater Horizon oil rig is seen burning. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
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BP PLC closed the book on the Justice Department's criminal probe of its role in the Deepwater Horizon disaster and Gulf oil spill Tuesday, when a federal judge agreed to let the London-based oil giant plead guilty to manslaughter charges for the deaths of 11 rig workers and pay a record $4 billion in penalties.

What the plea deal approved by U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance doesn't resolve, though, is the federal government's civil claims against BP. The company could pay billions more for environmental damage from its 2010 spill.

Vance noted that the company already has racked up more than $24 billion in spill-related expenses and has estimated it will pay a total of $42 billion to fully resolve its liability for the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

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