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BP, Transocean, Halliburton Face Criminal Charges

BP, Transocean and Haliburton are likely to face criminal charges after months of investigation by the Obama administration commission and other panels where they concluded that these companies were likely negligent in the Gulf oil spill disaster that took place April 20, 2010 on the Deepwater Horizon.

David Uhlmann, former chief of environmental crimes at the Justice Department said “The evidence of negligence is too compelling and the harm is too great. The Justice Department is likely to believe that BP, Transocean and Halliburton were negligent and should be criminally charged. There’s no question about that.”

Uhlmann, now a law professor at the University of Michigan, cited excerpts released Wednesday from the presidential oil spill commission’s report, saying it alone shows the standard for criminal charges has been met.

Among the panel’s conclusions: decisions intended to save time and money created an unreasonable amount of risk that triggered the April 20 explosion in the Gulf of Mexico and led to the oil spill. The panel said another similar disaster could happen again without significant reforms by industry and government.

The panel also concluded that the mistakes were the result of systemic problems, not necessarily the fault of any one individual.

The blast killed 11 oil rig workers on the Deepwater Horizon and led to more than 200 million gallons of oil spewing from BP’s Macondo well located a mile beneath the Gulf of Mexico, according to government estimates, creating the biggest natural disaster in the history of the United States.

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