Federal judge accepts Transocean guilty plea

deepwater horizon uscg photoFEBRUARY 15, 2013 — U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo of the Eastern District of Louisiana, yesterday accepted Transocean Deepwater Inc.'s plea of guilty to a violation of the Clean Water Act (CWA) for its illegal conduct leading to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, and sentenced the company to pay $400 million in criminal fines and penalties (see earlier story).

During yesterday's guilty plea and sentencing proceeding, Judge Milazzo found, among other things, that the sentence appropriately reflects Transocean's role in the offense conduct, and that the criminal payments directed to the National Academy of Sciences and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation are appropriately designed to help remedy the harm to the Gulf of Mexico caused by Transocean's actions.  

The judge also noted that the fines and five year probationary period provide just punishment and adequate deterrence.

In total, the amount of fines and other criminal penalties imposed on Transocean are the second-largest environmental crime recovery in U.S. history – following the historic $4 billion criminal sentence imposed on BP Exploration and Production Inc. in connection with the same disaster.

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