Gulf of Mexico residents hail ruling against BP

The sun sets beyond the beach as waves wash up from the Gulf of Mexico April 13, 2011 in Grand Isle, Louisiana. Oil from the BP oil spill washed up onto this beach, one of the hardest hit areas, in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion which killed eleven crew members. 206 million gallons of oil eventually spilled into the Gulf of Mexico until the BP well was finally sealed. Residents report that oil still washes up onto the beach after storms.  (Mario Tama, Getty Images)
The sun sets beyond the beach as waves wash up from the Gulf of Mexico April 13, 2011 in Grand Isle, Louisiana. Oil from the BP oil spill washed up onto this beach, one of the hardest hit areas, in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion which killed eleven crew members. 206 million gallons of oil eventually spilled into the Gulf of Mexico until the BP well was finally sealed. Residents report that oil still washes up onto the beach after storms. (Mario Tama, Getty Images)
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Updated: 9/05 8:54 am

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Environmentalists, recreational fishermen and people who make their living on the Gulf of Mexico are hailing a federal judge's ruling that could mean $18 billion in additional fines for BP over the nation's worst offshore oil spill.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier ruled Thursday that the company acted with "gross negligence" in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster. He said the London-based oil giant showed a "conscious disregard of known risks" during the drilling operation and bears most of the responsibility for the blowout that killed 11 rig workers and spewed millions of gallons of oil over three months.

In the next stage of the case, set for January, the judge will decide precisely how much BP must pay. BP, meanwhile, said it would appeal Barbier's ruling.

 

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