This article, written by Christine Dell’Amore, originally appeared in National Geographic.
More than four years after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig blew, killing 11 workers and causing the devastating Gulf oil spill—the worst in U.S. history—a federal judge has placed the blame squarely on BP.
On Thursday, a judge for the U.S. District Court of Eastern Louisiana issued a ruling that BP exhibited “gross negligence” and “willful misconduct” in the lead-up to the April 2010 explosion and spill.
The ruling holds that BP is subject to “enhanced civil penalties” under the Clean Water Act, which could add up to $18 billion more in fines to the $28 billion that BP has already spent on cleanup efforts and damage claims in the Gulf. The explosion spewed more than 200 million gallons (750 million liters) of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
BP said that it “strongly disagrees” with the decision and that it will immediately file an appeal.
Read the full article on National Geographic.