Add this to the true cost of fossil fuels; that is, when the "polluter pays" for the damage they've caused to the environment, to human health, and to the economy.
BP has agreed to plead guilty to 14 criminal counts, including manslaughter, and will pay $4 billion over five years in a settlement with the Justice Department over the April 20, 2010, drilling disaster in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 people and unleashed the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history, officials announced Thursday.
The fine is the largest criminal payment in U.S. history, Justice Department officials said, but BP still faces even bigger penalties from federal civil charges, including those under the Clean Water Act.
As for the public relations impact on BP's corporate image, this article quotes Jonathan Bernstein of Bernstein Crisis Management that "I don't think the payment does anything for BP's reputation," but that "[o]nly consistent, long-term compliance with regulations and consideration for the environment will do that." I couldn't agree more.