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Oil giant BP has agreed to pay millions of dollars in fines in connection with the largest oil spill ever, in Alaska's vast North Slope. Last year, thousands of gallons of crude spilled into Prudhoe Bay. Alaska Public Radio's David Shurtleff reports.

DAVID SHURTLEFF: By the time a BP worker smelled the crude oil, over 200,000 gallons had already spilled out onto the frozen tundra. For five days, the oil had been pouring out of an almond-sized hole that formed in a pipeline - the result of corrosion and years of neglect on the part of BP. At a federal court hearing in Anchorage Thursday, the company formerly known as British Petroleum was sentenced to three years probation and agreed to pay $20 million in penalties for a violation of the Federal Clean Water Act. BP's spokesman, Steve Rinehart.

Mr. STEVE RINEHART (BP Spokesman): We know that people were disappointed. We were disappointed. Our goal is to regain and maintain that trust. We're determined to do that.

SHURTLEFF: BP still faces two other pending criminal cases. In the coming months they will plead guilty to price fixing and also to charges stemming from a refinery explosion in Texas which killed 15 workers in March of 2005.

For NPR News in Anchorage, I'm David Shurtleff.

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