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Bob Dudley

How the government got BP to pay the biggest environmental penalty in history

How the government got BP to pay the biggest environmental penalty in history

The first order of business when John Cruden took over as the Justice Department's top environmental lawyer was holding BP financially accountable for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill that fouled the Gulf of Mexico with millions of barrels of oil.

The best way to do that, Cruden believed, was to settle the costly and contentious legal fight between his department and the oil giant. But the former Green Beret was worried about entering negotiations with a weak hand, particularly after BP had rebuffed a sizable 2013 deal.

So when a court-appointed mediator suggested reaching out to BP to reopen talks, Cruden surprised the respected magistrate...

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