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Kate Sheppard ponders whether the government's criminal settlement with BP for its actions and failures to act that led to the deep-sea oil-well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico two and a half years ago is enough:
Regarding the $4.5 billion settlement agreement, some are wondering if it goes far enough in penalizing BP. The public interest group Public Citizen argues that the fine announced today is little more than a "slap on the wrist" for the company, as it does not include any penalties for the criminal charges beyond the fines. Tyson Slocum, energy program director at Public Citizen, points out that the company, says that the agreement should have included sanctions on the company—like barring it from future government contracts or from obtaining new leases.
As the Wall Street Journal reported during the spill, BP is "the single biggest supplier of fuel to the Department of Defense, with Pentagon contracts worth $2.2 billion a year." That means that in two years, US government pays BP just about as much money as the company has agreed to pay to settle the criminal complaint. In its announcement of the agreement, BP said it has not been advised of any intent to block the company from future contracts.
This is far from the first time BP has found itself in trouble with the law. The company previously paid record-breaking fines related to a March 2005 explosion at its Texas City Refinery killed 15 employees. And just a few days ago a subsidiary of the company wasforced to pay compensation to Alaska for two 2006 oil spills on the North Slope.
"This is a habitual corporate criminal and this settlement will do absolutely nothing to deter corporate crime," said Slocum. […]
To be clear, this isn't the grand total of what BP will have to pay out. The company still faces civil fines based on the number of barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf under the Clean Water Act, which alone could run it another $21 billion if the company is accused of "gross negligence" (which comes with a higher fine than regular "negligence" under the law). BP also faces fines based on the damage to natural resources—like the birds and turtles killed and the impact on fisheries. The company also faces separate lawsuits from cleanup workers and local residents impacted by the spill, as well as suits from several of its investors. That also does not include the money that BP agreed to pony up for a victim compensation fundshortly after the spill.
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2011—Michael Bloomberg's raid on Zuccotti Park and freedom of the press: 'Not tonight':
In the hours since New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg sent in riot police to clear out Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zuccotti Park, stories of media suppression have been flying.
But this one quote from The New York Times really encapsulates Michael Bloomberg's respect for the First Amendment:
Rosie Gray, a writer for The Village Voice, recounted telling a police officer, “I’m press!” She said the officer responded, “Not tonight.”
We'll just hold off on all those pesky rights until it's more convenient. Or not.
At this hour, a hearing is being held on the temporary restraining order issued earlier this morning that allowed protesters to return to Zuccotti Park. An order that Mayor Bloomberg has ignored. Stay tuned.
The average person talks 3 times as loud when on a cellphone than with another person. — @UberFacts via Buffer
On today's Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin joined us for a roundup light on the polls, but heavy on the punditry: Mitt's post-election gaffes, Angus King's coy games, and filibuster reform. We even took a detour into the 1%-er grifter narrative bursting through the seams of the Petraeus affair. Then, Part 2 of our "deep dive" into filibuster reform history, explaining why the beginning of a new Congress creates a special opportunity to enact rules changes by simple majority vote, and how it's happened in the past, despite the punditry telling you it never has!