BP is set to pay fines and penalties of $4.5 bn to settle the criminal case against it brought by the US Department of Justice in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster of in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. It will be the biggest criminal penalty in US history. Eleven oil rig workers died and millions of barrels of oil poured into the Gulf of Mexico after an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. The fines, for manslaughter, environmental violations and obstructing Congress, will go towards a variety of causes including the creation of barrier islands to prevent future pollution and the development of state of the art control techniques for oil slicks. BP still face massive civil claims in the USA and have increased the $38.1 billion charge already set aside by a further $3.85 billion. Two BP engineers have bee charged with manslaughter for their role in overseeing the Deepwater Horizon rig. A more senior employee, David Rainey, was charged with downplaying the amount of oil that was discharged, now thought to be 4.9 million barrels.
And Sellafield Limited will face prosecution after five bags of radioactive waste from the Sellafield nuclear complex in Cumbria ended up in a landfill site. Five bags of low-level waste were sent to Lillyhall in Workington, instead of to the nearby Drigg nuclear waste dump. Sellafield stressed the bags, which contained paper, plastic, clothing and wood, were no danger to the public. About 70% of the UK’s higher radioactive waste is kept at Sellafield.