The Justice Department recently announced that Halliburton Energy Services acknowledged it had destroyed information sought by investigators on the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In exchange for admitting it had deleted evidence about the disaster that killed 11 workers and dirtied beaches in several states, the company agreed to plead guilty to one criminal count.
Halliburton will pay the maximum fine — $200,000 — and submit to three years of probation. It will give $55 million to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. The Justice Department won’t pursue more charges. The fine it will pay once a court approves the deal is small, given the impact of the spill on the economy and the environment.
Halliburton’s faulty work as BP’s cement contractor on the drilling rig contributed to the disaster that spilled millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf for months. The company still faces civil suits, so its time in court is far from over. Still, this admission is a good step.