Environmentalists, residents hail judge's decision finding BP 'grossly negligent' in oil spill

Associated Press

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 (BAHR'-bih-aye) 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.

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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.