BP loses bid to reduce fine for Gulf of Mexico oil spill

Feb 20, 2015, 2:47 AM EST
Branding is seen on the walls at the headquarters of BP (British Petroleum) in Aberdeen, Scotland on January 21, 2015.
AFP/Getty Images

BP has lost its bid to reduce the maximum civil fine of $13.7B it could face for its role in the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, writes the BBC. A US judge rejected BP's appeal to pay a cap of $3,000 per barrel under the country's Clean Water Act.

Government prosecutors claim the firm is liable to pay $4,300 per barrel spilled to account for inflation. The court has yet to decide the amount of responsibility and final penalty the firm will pay for the disaster.

The 2010 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig killed 11 workers and caused the largest oil spill in U.S. history. US District Judge Carl Barbier, who issued two previous rulings in the case, had earlier found BP had been grossly negligent leading up to the explosion.

According to Reuters, the company disagrees with the court decision and is considering its legal options. BP said it has incurred more than $42B in liabilities for the spill, which includes the cost of the cleanup, victim compensation and potential fines.

In 2012, BP accepted criminal responsibility for the disaster and agreed to pay $4.5B to the US government, thus settling its criminal liability in the spill.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that reality TV show star and real estate mogul Donald Trump once called the White House and offered to help with the oil spill.

Trump told Business Insider on Thursday that the spill was not the main reason he reached out to top Obama adviser David Axelrod. Trump, who has said he's considering running for president in 2016, was mostly interested in building a grand ballroom for the U.S. to host foreign leaders.

"I saw that the United States, when they host a dignitary, such as the head of China, head of India, they put up a cheap tent by the White House and I thought that was inappropriate," said Trump.

"The purpose of the call was to offer the United States, free of charge, a $100-million-plus ballroom for the White House so they could host dignitaries."

According to Trump, the BP spill, in which millions of gallons of oil spewed into the Gulf of Mexico after a rig exploded, came up as a side issue.

"I may have mentioned, 'If you need help with the oil spill, I will get my people involved,'" he said.

In Axelrod's account, however, Trump was much more direct in his offer to get involved.

"That admiral you have down there running this leak operation seems like a nice guy, but he doesn't know what he's doing," Trump told Axelrod, according to the Obama adviser's new book, "Believer: My Forty Years in Politics." "I know how to run big projects. Put me in charge of this thing, and I'll get that leak shut down and the damage repaired.'" 

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