Thursday, 3 July 2014


At this time,  July 2014, legal proceedings in New Orleans are defining environmental crimes in terms of oil exploration and exploitation., revealing the range of $billions in fines and penalties, and costs..

APRIL 2010 : Gulf of Mexico was the site of major Environmental Crimes at Deepwater Horizon.
Indeed, the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon and subsequent oil spill has been called the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history.  In January 2013, BP pled guilty to 14 criminal counts, including felony manslaughter, and paid $4.5 billion in fines. 

JUNE 2014  Court House in New Orleans was involved in the identification of  Environmental Criminals.
As the trial has unspooled in an elegant courtroom in downtown New Orleans, numerous parallel legal proceedings have played out. BP has pleaded guilty to criminal negligence and 11 counts of felony manslaughter, and agreed to pay penalties and fines of $4 billion. In addition, the London-based company admitted withholding documents and lying to Congress regarding oil flow rates.
At one point during the crisis, more than 1,000 miles of coastline were befouled with oil. Scientists are assessing the effects on marine life and coastal wetland systems.
 a study by Texas A&M-Corpus Christi found the blowout had damaged marine life for 57 square miles from the blast site, concluding that recovery could take a generation or more.
Tar balls are still found on beaches as far away as Florida. And this summer, a 40,000-pound tar mat — a slab of oil residue mixed with sand — was found on a Louisiana barrier island.
JULY 2014 the onset of the Hurricane season will further test the damage  to the Gulf of Mexico, and the persistence and spread of tar residue.
 BP asked Barbier to suspend payments in a $7.8-million fund the company had established to settle private economic and medical claims. The company argued there was a "feeding frenzy" of false claims. Barbier had rejected a similar request twice before. How much oil flowed into the gulf and what will it cost the companies? Was it the 2.45 million gallons that BP contends, or the more than 4 million gallons estimated by government scientists?  U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier will use that information when he determines culpability among the partners on the rig: BP, which owned the well; Halliburton, which sealed the wellhead; and Transocean, which owned the Deepwater Horizon drilling vessel.
Depending in part on that calculation, BP could be exposed to as much as $17 billion in fines for violating the Clean Water Act, the largest environmental penalty in U.S. history. A portion of the fines is earmarked for gulf restoration.
In addition, the court will determine whether BP's actions on the rig were negligent or grossly negligent. That distinction is important because it is the difference between a $4.5-billion fine and the maximum $17-billion penalty.
It is worth noting that despite the enormity of the damage done at Deepwater Horizon, BP has been awarded contracts:  in late 2011, BP was awarded its first permit to drill in the Gulf since the spill and has since secured more licences.

With reference to the latimes; to the BBCNews; to the HuffingtonPost.

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