Report: Judge approves BP’s $525M settlement with SEC

A federal court finalized BP’s $525 million settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for low-balling the amount of oil spilled during its 2010 Gulf of Mexico explosion.

U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans said BP must pay the fine in three payments within 20 months, the Houston Chronicle reported Thursday.

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The fine for misleading the SEC was issued in conjunction with the $4 billion criminal penalty for the spill levied in November by the Justice Department.The SEC said inaccurate claims about the rate at which oil spilled out of BP’s Macondo well could have swayed investors on whether or not to buy BP stocks.

Ultimately, the destroyed Macondo well released an estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), who has long pilloried BP for its assessments of the oil spill, said he remains concerned oversight of the cleanup effort is lacking.

Markey, who serves as the top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee, on Thursday pushed BP and the U.S. Coast Guard to release all videos, documents, maps and other materials related to the spill and its aftermath.

Markey, along with House Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), had previously asked for that information after oil sheen from the Macondo well surfaced in September and then again in November.

The Coast Guard said in October that 100 gallons of oil were leaking from a containment device placed over the Macondo well, though the oil was not coming from the Macondo itself. The Coast Guard said the sheen would not threaten the coastline.

“There is no statute of limitations or protections for a crime against the environment, and BP should immediately hand over any and all information related to this new chapter in their oil spill disaster. BP can’t hide these new oil sheens from the American people, and they shouldn’t be allowed to hide the information about what’s going on at the bottom of the ocean,” Markey said in a Thursday statement.