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…And the Fines Just Keep Climbing for BP

March 6, 2012

BP still facing liability in oil spill caseThe Times Picayune reported that even with private claims settlements estimated at $7.8 billion, BP still faces a possibility of owing more than $40 billion in damages and liability. Federal, state and local officials are still waiting for a conference with the U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier, to determine the depth of the remaining liability that BP and other parties responsible for the oil spill owe.

Under only two federal laws, BP and other responsible parties are facing $20 billion in fines. The Clean Water Act states that any company involved in developing the Maconda well using the Deepwater Horizon drill ship could require them to pay a total of $17.6 billion in fines.  Add another $5 billion if found grossly negligent.

The Oil Pollution Act of 1990’s terms explicitly say that responsible parties are also liable for damages to natural resources and the public’s use of those resources. This act would require the companies to pay for repair projects totaling another $5 billion or more.

Smaller fines include environmental laws, including the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

The bullet doesn’t stop there. The companies could face another $15 billion in federal criminal penalties if charges are filed against BP, it’s officers or any other associated with the spill.  Since a criminal investigation began in June 2010, criminal charges would start a federal trial separate from the civil cases.

For more information on this article, visit The Times Picayune.

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