Last Thursday, a federal judge in New Orleans denied BP's request to limit its environmental penalties for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Setting this fine is the final step in a civil case regarding the April 20, 2010 blowout of BP's Macondo subsea well, which caused the spill. Following the blowout, a sea-floor oil gusher flowed for eighty-seven days. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is considered the largest accidental marine oil spill in the history of the petroleum industry.
In January, a chemical company spilled a coal-cleaning agent into a West Virginia river, leaving 300,000 people without safe drinking water. Six executives of the chemical company were charged by federal authorities for violating the Clean Water Act.