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$4.2 million penalty approved in deadly 2012 platform fire

Posted August 31

— An energy company has been formally sentenced to a $4.2 million penalty in connection with a 2012 offshore oil platform fire that killed three workers.

Houston-based Black Elk Energy agreed to the penalty in May and pleaded guilty to eight violations of federal laws governing safety and pollution.

Prosecutors agreed to dismiss three counts of involuntary manslaughter.

It's unclear how much of the penalty the government will collect. The Justice Department said the penalty, imposed Thursday, will be among claims against Black Elk by various creditors in bankruptcy proceedings. A trustee will pay the claims on a pro-rata basis from liquidated company assets.

A 2013 report by federal regulators identified safety lapses leading to the blast and fire on a platform about 17 miles (27 kilometers) from Grand Isle, Louisiana.

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