Tag Archives: horizon oil

How Obama Defanged the Environmental Protection Agency

12 Apr

by Joshua Frank / Counterpunchobama-hot-air

It was a tumultuous tenure, productive by some accounts, lackluster by most, but one thing is for certain, Lisa Jackson’s short time as administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency was anything but dull. On December 27, 2012 the often-fiery Jackson announced she was not going to return for a second term, and it is surely not difficult to see why she’s fleeing her post.

Since President Obama was ushered into office in 2008, the EPA has consistently faced ridicule and criticism from corporate polluters and their greedy allies in Washington. On virtually every occasion Obama refused to side with Jackson’s more rationale, often science-based positions, whether it was cleaning up the air or forcing the natural resource industries to abide by existing regulations. Ultimately, the EPA is only as formidable as the White House allows it to be, and on Obama’s watch the agency has not received the support it has desired or deserved.

Take the case of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Even though those three horrible months watching oil spew into the Gulf have seeped out of our collective memory, the BP disaster is one of the largest stains on Jackson’s four-year stint at EPA. Soon after the underwater blowout, Jackson, a New Orleans native, demanded BP halt their use of the toxic dispersant Corexit 9500 to clean up their gushing mess. She took a tough line against a company that had gotten away with far too much for too long. Continue reading

BP Oil Spill: Prosecutors Reportedly Preparing Criminal Charges

29 Dec

Federal prosecutors are preparing the first criminal charges against BP in connection with the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the worst of its kind in U.S. history, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The charges, reportedly to be revealed early next year, center around several engineers and may include providing false information about the risks of drilling in the Guld of Mexico in federal documents, the WSJ reported.

The charge carries a penalty of a fine as well as up to five years imprisonment.

People familiar with the matter told NPR that no final decisions have been made about the charges, adding that even if prosecutors go ahead with the charges, attorneys for the engineers will have a chance to appeal to other Justice Department officials. BP spokesmen declined to comment to Bloomberg Businessweek on the WSJ report.

The Deepwater Horizon spill off of the coast of Louisiana in 2010 killed 11 and led to more than 200 million gallons of oil spewing under the water. After three months of searching for solutions, the well was finally capped, but not before the oil destroyed hundreds of miles of coastline and devastated the tourism and fishing industries.

The full economic impact of the oil spill is still unknown, with economists’ estimates expected to trickle in sometime next year, the Press-Register reports. Shortly after the spill, economists predicted that in a worst case scenario, the disaster would cost Alabama about two percent of its economic output. Still, the spill’s effects weren’t limited to states like Alabama, which were directly impacted. Businesses around the country were forced to contened with the spill’s aftermath; in restaurants as far away as New York City, business owners felt the pinch of a seafood price hike, according to CBS News.

As of March, the spill had cost BP $41 billion and severely damaged the company’s reputation. In addition, it likely cost BP’s former CEO Tony Hayward his job.

In October, the Obama administration granted BP permission to resume exploratory drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, saying that the company’s plans met the administration’s standards for deepwater drilling. But if the crisis were ever to happen again, the same laws would still be in place.

Despite a push from some Democrats to raise the cap on the amount that companies are required to pay to cover economic damages from an oil spill, the legislation never came to fruition.

Still, BP did set up a $20 billion compensation fund for victims of the spill. The Justice Department named BDO Consulting to conduct an independent audit of the claims fund, which is expected in March.