Sherri Revette, who lost her husband of 26 years, Dewey Revette, 48, of State Line, Miss., said the indictments against the employees brought mixed emotions.
"I'm saddened, but I'm also happy at the same time that they will be prosecuted. I feel for them, of course. You never know what impact your actions will have on others," she said.
The spill exposed lax government oversight and led to a temporary ban on deep-water drilling while officials and the oil industry studied the risks, worked to make it safer and developed better disaster plans. BP's environmentally friendly image was tarnished, and CEO Tony Hayward stepped down after the company's repeated gaffes, including his statement at the height of the crisis: "I'd like my life back."
The cost of BP's spill far surpassed that of the Exxon Valdez disaster in 1989. Exxon ultimately settled with the U.S. government for $1 billion, which would be about $1.8 billion today.
The government and plaintiffs' attorneys have also sued Transocean Ltd., the rig's owner, and cement contractor Halliburton, but a string of pretrial rulings by a federal judge undermined BP's legal strategy of pinning blame on them.
U.S. District Carl Barbier in New Orleans will have the final say over the settlement. He is also the judge deciding whether to give final approval to the $7.8 billion deal involving shrimpers, commercial fishermen, charter captains, property owners, environmental groups, restaurants, hotels and others who claimed financial losses.
Relatives of workers killed in the blast have also sued. And there are still other claims against BP from financial institutions, casinos and racetracks, insurance companies and local governments.
Associated Press writers Pete Yost in Washington, Kevin McGill in New Orleans and Holbrook Mohr in Jackson, Miss., contributed to this story.