US may file civil complaint against BP over Gulf spill

A person scoops crude oil from an oiled marsh near Brush Island, Louisiana, in May
A person scoops crude oil from an oiled marsh near Brush Island, Louisiana, in May 2010. The US government has said in a Louisiana court it is considering filing a civil complaint against BP under the Clean Water Act to claim 1,100 dollars for each barrel of oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico.

The US government has said in a Louisiana court it is considering filing a civil complaint against BP under the Clean Water Act to claim 1,100 dollars for each barrel of oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico.

If the US administration can prove BP engaged in gross negligence or willful misconduct leading up to the spill, the cost of each barrel spilled is tripled to 4,300 dollars.

This means BP could theoretically face fines of up to 17.6 billion dollars for the 4.1 million barrels that poured into the sea.

"At this juncture, the United States expects that it may file a civil complaint related to the Deepwater Horizon disaster under these provisions and possibly others," officials filed in court documents obtained by AFP Tuesday.

The Department of Justice is reviewing the Oil Pollution Act and Clean Water Act "and other statues in which enforcement action may be appropriate," officials wrote in a filing late Monday to Carl Barbier in New Orleans, who is overseeing the gargantuan complaints process for the disaster.

"As we have said from the beginning, we are committed to ensuring that those responsible clean up the mess they made, restore or replace the natural resources lost or injured in this tragedy, and repay every cent of taxpayer money," Justice Department spokeswoman Hannah August told AFP.

BP has already spent eight billion dollars trying to contain the disaster and has forecast that it will eventually cost the group more than 32.2 billion dollars.

An estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil gushed out of the well off the coast of Louisiana after it was ruptured by an April 20 explosion aboard BP's Deepwater Horizon that killed 11 workers. About 800,000 barrels were siphoned to ships at the surface.

It took 87 days to stem the flow of oil into the sea and hundreds of miles of coastline from Texas to Florida were sullied, killing wildlife and devastating key local industries such as tourism and fishing.

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(c) 2010 AFP

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Sep 15, 2010
They are required by law to enforce these fines, but they'll inevitably try to give BP a pass.

If they are successful in the suite, it'll be a start; but what we are lossing from this disaster is priceless and $20billion doesn't begin to cover it.

Sep 15, 2010
BP is heavily regulated by the government.
Why did the government regulations fail?

Very good question. Answer, corruption and corporatism.

The US Govt has no basis under which to sue BP. It was the government's fault that BP was allowed to skirt safety measures in the first place. This move is simply feel good garbage to distract us from seeing the corporate overlord influences on the MMS.

Sep 15, 2010
Agree with the both of you for once, lol.

I view big oil and big governement as one in the same. I had hope when Obama-mama got elected, it is fading a good bit but slowly.

I've done projects for these oil producers and mining facilities. The people work well and safely most of the time. The root cause of most industrial disasters in my eyes occures when money makers cut safety for profit, this is what happened on Deep Water Horizon.

Government enables ans supports big oil at any cost to civilians, and big oil curropts our governemnt to make it possible.

Sep 18, 2010
This raises an interesting territorial question: if most of the oil is sitting on the seabed beyond the 12 mile jurisdiction and if the US has not ratified the Law of the Seas Convention that gives nations a 200 mile coastal extension, then is the US an injured party with respect to this oil?

Which leads to the next question: what is delaying the ratification of this treaty? Ratification was supported by the prior Republican administration and was raised by this Democratic senate so what in creation is keeping this from proceeding?

Sep 18, 2010
How can more govt power have the effect you desire on corporate influence on govt? Corporations want a more powerful govt, too.
Another good question. Answer is, it can't. Now you and I often disagree about government influence, and I think you have me painted as a big government guy, which I'm not. I'm a big rule of law guy. We need proper regulations, and small streamlined organizations that do not self regulate, but are overseen by other components of government. You can institute a better rule of law with a small government. The issue, and our core disagreement on this topic is whether the laws and the people in charge are one in the same. In my view, they are not, and this issue evidences my stance. The laws were ignored by the people in power, that's corruption.

Sep 18, 2010

What is wrong with self regulation?
We 'need' [.....]and organizations that DO regulate themselves.

Mangy, are you truly that blind? BP was regulated by the government, under regulations that were largely self-written, in addition to an additional layer of, as you would have it, "self-regulation", which was, in fact, exactly the regulation that was skirted in the creation of this disaster.

Yes, BP's very own SOP, mongo.

The fact that any corporation will engage in such actions in pursuit of profit, with or without regulation, whether government- or self- imposed, comes as no surprise to anyone. And I mean anyone.

Your feigned, hypocritical bleating about self-regulation in the face of this self-evident truth reveals you as the sophistic corporate shill that you are, and one who is ever ready to make an outrageous, patently false claim, to divert attention from your masters'
wrongdoings, as any good little servant would.

Sep 18, 2010
And as much as I hate it, I've got to agree that this suite, as Skeptic says, is likely to be little more than a dog 'n' pony show to distract and divert attention away from the fact that the government hasn't released the funding to do any kind of comprehensive monitoring of the ongoing, long-term effects of this disaster in terms of human health, environmental health and economic health - much less of the immediate damage caused.

BP should have to set up a trust of about(initially) 80 billion USD to simultaneously setup/fund an investigatory/monitoring agency, and pay ongoing damage claims, and the research needed to identify and quantify the damages.

This should be the standard, worldwide, for dealing with these types of catastrophes, with the full recognition of the fact that industry oftentimes constitutes an inherent risk in operating, and should be held fully responsible regardless of negligence, human error, accident or "act of God".

Sep 18, 2010
It should not be the government that files suit against BP, the govt should support every individual's freedom to pursue property damages from BP.

The government pretty much has to, in recognition of the fact that BP's lawyers would use the peoples' ignorance of the law to settle every last claim brought against them for pennies on the dollar, mongo.

One big class action type suit brought by the state is what BP prefers.

That's right, because they know that without constant ongoing public pressure on government, that the case would be settled for pennies on the dollar, with favorable forward terms for BP.

Sep 18, 2010
I would end the practice of out of court settlements. Once a suit is filed in a govt court, all must be public record, including any settlement. Rights are supposed to be unalienable which means that individuals can't be coerced into keeping silent on any settlement.
!!!A one-in-a-thousand occurence. Absolute agreement on all three!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mongo, if it were possible to do so, I would give you five gold stars for that bit of wisdom, for precisely the reason that in your case, it is so rare. But -credit where credit is due.

Now, since we are in agreement, feel free to recant! Obviously, you must have made some kind of mistake, for a liberal-commie-socialist to be agreeing with you....

Sep 19, 2010
We need proper regulations, and small streamlined organizations that do not self regulate,

What is wrong with self regulation?
We 'need' organizations that don't regulate themselves? How does that foster smaller govt?
We need MORE individuals and organizations that DO regulate themselves.
It doesn't work, and when organizations are allowed to self regulate, the known need for oversight vanishes from the public conciousness. It was a mere 20 years from the Valdez to this incident.
That was thought a prerequisite of our Constitutional republic, citizens that would regulate themselves.
Actually it was a known prerequisite of the Constitution that government never self regulates and is regulated by the body of citizenry. We're not talking about citizens here, we're talking about government bureaus. The system of checks and balances is included with the ciriculum of US Civic 101 in elementary school, how do you not know this?

Sep 19, 2010
There is a difference between what the Constitution intended and what you think it should do.
And like religion, you think you're the only person equippped well enough to interpret it? Laughable.

Sep 19, 2010
Bastiat was greatly limited by his experience and has been found to be irrelevant or even ridiculous in many aspects of his ideology. Simply look at his valuations of property.

Above and beyond that, Bastiat's ideology led directly to fascism. This is evidenced by his stance on national borders, the dues of the worker to the capitalist and the dues of the capitalist to the government.

His philosophy (if you can even call it that) can be summed up as "Oh, you're poor? Too bad. Now fuck off and be poor elsewhere."

Sep 20, 2010
The main line of "regulations" defined
and protected property rights or other personal rights. They prevented one owner from overstepping his own fair and equal share of use rights and grabbing some of his neighbors' in the process."
You do understand that these regulations you're referring to are primarily about property valuation, like the Penn Rail vs. New York case? Probably not. YOu didn't read your own source.

Sep 20, 2010
The law should not be applied equally?
It's ok to take land without compensation to save a toad, but not to build a road?


Why does it not surprise us that mango isn't comfortable with the reckoning of cost/benefit, when it includes the calculation of "Externalized Costs"?

Sep 21, 2010
Why does it not surprise us that mango isn't comfortable with the reckoning of cost/benefit, when it includes the calculation of "Externalized Costs"?
The problem with mongo is, he's just not that bright.

The well read person, especially one interested in freedom of any kind, would recognize the economics of the situation. OPEC, otherwise known as the league of extraordinary terrorists, will pull down enough profit in the next 6 years to purchase a majority share in all of the US Fortune 500 companies and a vast majority of the Banking system worldwide. This will give them control of the majority of government influence, and total control of economic policy. The status quo will be the death of all forms of freedom. If you really stood up for what you believe marjon, you'd want to be off oil now, and into a fuel source that the US can self control, like biomass/methanol. It would revitalize the agri-industry, and allow true energy independence.

Sep 22, 2010
So? They invest in those companies to make more money.
No, they control the flow of light sweet crude to make money, they "invest" in those companies to control government policy.
The USG recently subsidized ethanol but banned importation of ethanol from Brazil.
See above.
The US has NG that can power autos. Why is the government not promoting it?
Because we import almost 20% of our NG now. Converting cars would simply make NG the next oil. T Boone Pickens is in error.
In the '80s people were afraid the Japanese would buy up the country.
And then Intel revolutionized the computing industry MS dominated the software market and prevented Sony and Motorola from doing so.
Get the govt out of the way and the market (the people) will quickly decide.
We tried that with Reagan and watched the economy crash endlessly.

Sep 23, 2010

Because we import almost 20% of our NG now.

Only because no pipeline exists to New England. They would rather ship it in from Qatar.

Well then, mangy -why hasn't your all-powerful, ever benificent, and always-at-the-ready to fill a niche "freemarket" built a goddam pipeline then?

Could it be that your "freemarket" would prefer to not invest in costly infrastructure in the here and now to obtain profit in the by-and-by, but rather prefers the mere expedient of Middlemandom?

Or is it because their lah-di-da "freemarket" attempts -to date- to develop the plentiful supply of NG in New England have been plagued with so many disasters because of down and dirty drilling practices that citizens all over New England have put a stop to most of it, fearing their own "Deepwater Horizon-style" Catastrophe?

I know for a fact that you can read, and I'm sure that you are aware of this ongoing debacle, being a New Englander, and all.

Sep 23, 2010
Only because no pipeline exists to New England. They would rather ship it in from Qatar.
Dummy, we import 20% of our natural gas nationwide, what would a pipeline in New England have to do with that?

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