According to a recent article on fuelfix.com, BP has agreed to pay over $4 billion to the U.S. government to resolve all criminal claims stemming from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico rig explosion and oil spill. It is by far the largest criminal penalty in American history. Additionally, at least three BP workers were expected to face criminal charges in connection with the disaster and its aftermath. A criminal complaint filed by the Justice Department singled out two BP well-site leaders for the failure of a pressure test on BP's blown-out well, and a BP executive for providing government officials with flow estimates that were lower than what the company actually knew at the time. The complaint itself charged BP with seaman's manslaughter and other counts, but did not specify charges against individuals.
As I was driving home from work last night I heard a commercial on the radio that caught my attention. The commercial was narrated by a man that runs a business on the beach in Destin, Florida. That narrator, Rick Scali, is in the business of renting beach and vacation equipment to tourists. According to the commercial, all is well, the beach is clean, the oil is gone, and BP "is doing the best they can in a very difficult situation." While I disagree with Mr. Scali, I am happy that the claims process went well for him and his family. I am not happy that BP (British Petroleum) continues to spend money on advertising campaigns rather than take that same money and use it to compensate those that have lost everything due to BP's callous regard for safety, human life, and the gulf coast. If BP is truly doing the best it can, then why is it spending money patting itself on the back through these ads?
As the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig catastrophe investigation continues, it is becoming more and more apparent the companies who participated on this rig created an atmosphere that did not focus on safety. The presidential commission in charge of the investigation has uncovered an atmosphere of, at the very best, complacency for the safety rules and regulations, and at the very worst, an atmosphere of profits over safety. Further, at this initial investigation stage it appears that more than one company contributed to one of the greatest disasters of all time.
Just recently, on August 6, 2010, Florida real estate company St. Joe Co. filed suit against oil field contractor, Halliburton. According to the allegations in the suit and announcements made by lead counsel for St. Joe Co., Halliburton bears full responsibility for the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Halliburton was the sole cementing contractor for the Macando well, which was attached to the Deepwater Horizon oil platform. That platform exploded, caught fire, and sank in April of this year.
On Thursday, June 17, 2010, BP's CEO, Tony Hayward, went before members of Congress to answer questions regarding the Deepwater Horizon disaster. It has now been two months since the massive blowout that left 11 people dead and the Gulf of Mexico in ruin. Despite the fact that it has now been two months since the incident, BP's Tony Hayward still hasn't "drawn a conclusion" when faced with substantial evidence that BP cut corners on the well plan that led to the April 20 rig explosion and ongoing leak that is still spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico. In his opening remarks, Hayward stated "none of us yet knows why it happened." Really?