Target: District Judge Carl Barbier
Goal: Applaud the recognition of reckless negligence that allowed for the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster
A judge has recently decided that oil company BP’s gross negligence was responsible for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a 2010 disaster thought to be one of the worst of its type in history. The spill saw an estimated 2.45 million barrels of crude oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico, devastating the US coastline and leaving toxic pollution present on shorelines for years afterward. The spill decimated populations of ocean-dwelling plants, animals, birds, and mammals for hundreds of miles, and created a “dead-zone” in the immediate area where the ocean is still void of life.
British oil giant BP has already paid over $4o billion in fines, cleanup costs, and settlements with victims, as well as another $4.5 billion in criminal negligence penalties. Now, BP could face even more fines under the Clean Water Act, a 2006 legislation designed to address water pollution. Found guilty of “gross negligence”, BP’s new fines could add up to $18 billion, up from a total of just under $2.7 billion for simple charges of negligence.
Two other companies involved were also found guilty of negligence, though not to BP’s degree of recklessness. Thirty percent of the blame was placed on Transocean, the owners of the massive semi-submerged oil rig. Halliburton, the contractor that built the cement casing for the oil rig that blew up, was found to be responsible for three percent of the event. The remaining sixty percent of the blame was attributed to BP, the operators of the rig at the time of the disaster.
Prosecuting negligence that leads to mass environmental disasters to the full extent of the law is important to encourage oil drillers to take the utmost care in ensuring that rigs are up to code and present no risk to workers or the environment. Your signature will praise the judge’s recognition of reckless negligence at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig.
Dear Honorable Carl Barbier,
Thanks to you, BP was recently found guilty of gross negligence for their role in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Now, the oil giant could face up to $18 billion in fines under the United States Clean Water Act.
Prosecution under the Clean Water Act is the final step in ensuring that BP is prosecuted to the full extent of the law for their shockingly irresponsible conduct. I commend your ruling, which will work as a deterrent to future negligence on oil rigs.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Agência Brasil via Creative Commons