Nov. 15 - BP agreed to pay $4.5 bln to U.S. government, but faces new penalties of billions of dollars more. Conway G. Gittens reports.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL The daily digit is 4.5 billion dollars. British oil giant BP agreed to pay the U.S. government $4.5 billion for the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico two and a half years ago. It is a big step toward resolving the company's legal problems, but BP still faces significant liabilities, including potential civil penalties of up to $21 billion under the U.S. Clean Water Act, as well as some outstanding claims from private plaintiffs. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder: SOUNDBITE: ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL (ENGLISH) SAYING: "You have to understand the totality of what we have announced today. There are penalties that are historic in nature. The company has pled guilty to criminal felony charges. Manslaughter. Individuals have been charged as well. Everything that we are capable of doing in the criminal sphere, we have done today. And this is unprecedented, both with regard to the amounts of money, the fact that a company has been criminally charged and that individuals have been charged as well." And he says, the U.S. government is going to contiune to go after BP for causing the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. SOUNDBITE: ERIC HOLDER, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I hope that this sends a clear message to those who would engage in this kind of reckless and wanton conduct that there would be a significant penalty to pay; and that individuals in companies who are engaged in this kind of activities, will themselves be held responsible. This is not a simple corporate plea. Individuals, individuals have been charged." The April 2010 explosion on the rig in the Gulf of Mexico killed 11 workers. The mile-deep Macondo oil well then spewed 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf over 87 days, fouling shorelines from Texas to Florida. There's a trial date set for February.