Court: BP Has to Pay Federal Fines


Though British Petroleum has put commercials on the air talking about how they’re taking responsibility for the horrific oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico four years ago, they’ve been fighting in court to get out of the fines for malfeasance that caused the spill. An appeals court has just smacked them down pretty hard.

A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday said BP Plc and Anadarko Petroleum Corp must face penalties under federal pollution laws in connection with the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, which could expose the companies to billions of dollars in potential fines.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a 2012 decision from U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier in New Orleans that the companies could be held liable for civil penalties under the Clean Water Act.

BP and Anadarko owned a respective 65 percent and 25 percent of the Macondo well that was drilled by Deepwater Horizon, which blew out in 2010 and resulted in a massive oil spill.

The companies had appealed Barbier’s ruling, arguing in part that they should not be responsible for oil spilled as a result of failed equipment on the drilling rig, which was owned by Transocean Ltd.

But as co-owners of the well, BP and Anadarko would be on the hook for resulting fines, the appeals court ruled.

The fine could be as high as $4300 per barrel spilled, which would mean billions of dollars in fines.

Comments

  1. throwaway says

    Yeah, that ‘b’ will turn to an ‘m’ pretty quickly if they do have to pay, anyway. It would be “cruel and unusual” punishment, after all. Unlike what they did to the ecosystem, which is just the peril of modern industry while sustaining our rapid consumption of limited resources.

  2. Trebuchet says

    Ya mean those constant BP ads on TV about what wonderful folks they are aren’t true? Perish the thought!

    Of course, this is just more Obama socialism trying to ruing the job creators!

  3. says

    Point of information: the company has not been British Petroleum since its 1998 merger with Amoco, which created BP Amoco. The name was changed to just BP in 2000 after swallowing up ARCO and a few other brands.

  4. says

    What? We should be paying them. Look at all the extra GDP “their” so-called “negative” externality created! I thought you Extreme Leftist Socialist Environmentalists were for jobs.

  5. says

    ExxonMobil is still refusing to pay up after the Valdez spill.

    “In 2006, given the continued presence of oil and long-term damage done to wildlife and the natural habitat, the administration of George W Bush requested $92m (£53m) of that figure for restoration projects.
    ExxonMobil refused to pay up – arguing that Alaska has fully recovered from the spill – and the longest-running environmental court case in history ensued.” — http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/exxon-valdez-oil-spill25-years-3277885

  6. Pierce R. Butler says

    … they’ve been fighting in court to get out of the fines for malfeasance that caused the spill.

    Further evidence for the link above: Yes, We Do Negotiate with Terrorists.

  7. parasiteboy says

    I’m not sure how much of this fine is punitive vs. reparations for the environmental damage done by the spill.
    When the inevitable push back occurs from politicians it would be good to have a breakdown of the fine. There are scientist out there that calculate “environmental services” that include direct impacts to the environment, like not being able to fish in a certain area, but also the estimated loss in value of an ecosystem after a disaster.

    It would be great if an agency like the EPA would employ a lot of these scientist (I do believe they employ some) so that we could make more informed decisions (cost-benefit analysis) for the cost of doing business, since all businesses will decrease the value of environmental services.

  8. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Though British Petroleum has put commercials on the air talking about how they’re taking responsibility for the horrific oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico four years ago, they’ve been fighting in court to get out of the fines for malfeasance that caused the spill. An appeals court has just smacked them down pretty hard.

    Good. Pleased to hear this.

  9. says

    @9;

    “I’m not sure how much of this fine is punitive vs. reparations for the environmental damage…”

    Duh! ALL of it, silly! BP was out there in the Gulf of Big O’l, creatin’ jobs and then they had the blowout and created LOTS of jobs–and this is the gratitude they are shown? Thank you ObamaFEMA EPAcorporatedeathpanels!!

  10. says

    And yet libertarians expect us to believe that the courts are sufficient to ensure that the corporations can be brought to task should they inflict harm on others.

  11. Crimson Clupeidae says

    The company has been stockpiling money in anticipation of this, so I think in the long run, they will probably just pay most of it, appeal the decision, and move on. In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t really going to put the company out of business or anything.

    Serious question: Where does the money from these ‘fines’ go? Hopefully into the local area and to clean up efforts?

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