A federal judge in New Orleans has scheduled a Feb. 14 hearing to decide whether to accept the Justice Department's criminal settlement with Transocean Ltd. over the company's role in the massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Transocean, which owned the rig that sank after an explosion killed 11 workers and spawned the spill, agreed last Thursday to pay $400 million in criminal penalties and plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of violating the Clean Water Act. The Switzerland-based company also agreed to pay $1 billion in civil penalties.
More than 100 nonprofit groups and government entities have been picked to get shares of $43.7 million in BP funds to promote the Gulf Coast's tourism and seafood industries following the company's 2010 oil spill.
The first round of grants announced Wednesday by court-supervised claims administrator Patrick Juneau is part of a proposed settlement between BP and a team of private plaintiffs' attorneys.
The deal calls for BP to fund a total of $57 million in tourism and seafood promotion grants.
A government investigative committee says BP and the drilling contractor it hired to operate the Deepwater Horizon rig that exploded two years ago focused too closely on personal safety at the expense of preventing major hazards.
The conclusions are contained in the preliminary findings of an investigation into the April 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill conducted by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board.
Eleven workers were killed in April 2010 when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, causing 200 million gallons of oil to gush into Gulf waters.