"It is incomprehensible that BP will be permitted to settle its criminal liability when, after nearly 3 years of opportunity, it has failed and refused to satisfactorily address the claims of victims injured or killed as a result of its conduct," he wrote.
BP agreed in November to plead guilty to criminal charges involving the deaths of 11 workers and to lying to Congress about how much oil spilled from its blown-out well. BP can withdraw its agreement if Vance rejects the deal. If she accepts it, Vance must impose a sentence that adheres to the agreed-upon terms.
The settlement calls for BP to pay nearly $1.3 billion in fines. The largest previous corporate criminal penalty assessed by the Justice Department was a $1.2 billion fine against drug maker Pfizer in 2009.
BP spokesman Scott Dean says the company "regrets the tragic loss of life caused by the Deepwater Horizon accident as well as the impact of the spill on the Gulf coast region."
"We apologize for our role in the accident, and as the company's resolution with the U.S. government further reflects, we have accepted responsibility for our actions," Dean said in a statement.
Jessica Manuel, whose father, Keith Blair Manuel, was killed in the explosion, said no amount of money will be enough to make up for her family's loss.
"My baby boy will never know what a wonderful grandfather he had," she wrote. "We can no longer enjoy holidays or family vacations without having a black cloud over us missing our dad."