BP Criminal Case: Statement from Motley Rice co-founder and settlement negotiator Joe Rice

Today, the U.S. government announced a criminal plea agreement with BP as a corporation. It additionally announced its intent to enter indictments against several individuals arising out of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and its aftermath. While the details continue to be made public and the ramifications are being studied, several things are clear.

There is no adverse impact on any individual or business claim against BP. There is no adverse impact on the recent Class Action Settlement. The money that is being paid by BP under the plea agreement is separate from any previously paid or committed funds.

We will continue to monitor this news, but it was not unexpected. From our own investigation, we felt that the actions of BP were criminal and that the federal government would reach the same conclusion once its investigation concluded. The loss of lives and the devastation to the Gulf Coast environment and economy due to or resulting from the April 2010 spill were totally preventable. We believe that the three main actors all face a heavy share of the responsibility. BP is, at least, making attempts to accept responsibility for its actions.

We hope that, in the near future, both Transocean and Halliburton decide it is time to accept the responsibility for any contributions they had to the disaster as well.