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Blast victims' relatives weigh in on BP plea deal

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 16, 2013 at 11:30 am •  Published: January 16, 2013
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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Shelley Anderson, whose husband was one of 11 workers killed in the Deepwater Horizon rig explosion, made a New Year's resolution to try to avoid crying in front of their children.

"Like most New Year's resolutions, I didn't do too well. Jason not being with us is hard enough for them to understand. My sorrow only makes that worse," Anderson wrote in a letter to the federal judge presiding over a plea deal that calls for BP PLC to pay a record $4.5 billion in penalties for the 2010 disaster.

Other victims' relatives are sharing their stories with U.S. District Judge Sarah Vance as she prepares to decide whether to accept the London-based oil giant's plea agreement with the Justice Department. Wednesday was the deadline for victims to submit written statements about the deal to Vance, who is expected to rule on BP's criminal settlement at a Jan. 29 hearing.

Siblings of another victim, Gordon Jones, said BP's sentence should include a personal apology to family members. Chris Jones said he would be satisfied if BP executives and board members visited Baton Rouge and told his brother's widow and children that they are sorry.

"As an attorney, I respect the law and the rights extended to BP," Chris Jones wrote. "But what I do not and never will respect is BP's refusal to acknowledge its responsibility for this accident."

Chris Jones also urged Vance to consider stiffer penalties that prohibit or limit the company's ability to operate in U.S. waters.

"It will move on from this and continue to make billions of dollars in profit in United States waters for its stockholders," he wrote. "Whereas BP will live on, Gordon will not."

Jason Anderson's father, Billy Fred Anderson, urged Vance to reject the deal and called for BP to pay billions more in restitution, including additional payments to families.

"The plain and simple fact here is BP killed my son in their efforts to speed up operations, to save time and money not only at the expense of my son's life, but also the lives of ten of his crew members," he wrote.

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