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BP Oil Spill -- Where's the Arrest?

Where is the arrest warrant?  Where is the indictment?  An ordinary economic crime -- burglary, auto theft -- gets immediate attention, cops putting handcuffs on suspects, booking at the local jail, an appearance in court.

A crime of the magnitude as the gulf oil spill gets apologies, explanations, excuses, etc. along with checks for those who have lost homes and businesses, jobs, etc.   But 11 people died and at least 17 have been reported injured.  And the costs keep increasing.  One estimate is that this will cost around $100 billion; another estimate puts it around $12.5 billion, but growing.  A recent report in the New York Times suggests that more than 7 million businesses will suffer in some way, while in Florida alone about 200 million people may lose their jobs along with a $10 billion loss. A Dun and Bradstreet report estimated that about 7.3 million businesses and 34 million employees along the coastal areas plus $5.2 trillion in assets will be affected.

Meanwhile about 5,000 barrels of oil are leaking each day, according to recent estimates. BP has recently begun to reimbursing businesses that rely on the gulf for their revenue, with about one-third of more than 90,000 claims, with checks totaling more than $144 million.  Most of the money has gone to people who are self-employed and the average payment is around "$2,500 a month for a deckhand or $5,000 for a fisherman" according to the New York Times.

Most of the news stories have centered on the economic costs noted above and the attempts by the federal government and Congress to get BP to solve the problem and stop the oil from flowing.  Where's the discussion of criminal indictments?  After all, it has been established that BP has been negligent.  Also, BP is a recidivist!  A "2005 explosion at a refinery in Texas City, Tex., killed 15 workers and injured hundreds more.  As a result the Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined BP a record $87 million for neglecting to correct safety violations" reports Corp Watch.  Then one year later, "a leaky BP oil pipeline in Alaska forced the shutdown of one of the nation's biggest oil fields. BP was fined $20 million in criminal penalties after prosecutors said the company had neglected corroding pipelines."  What's the justice department waiting for?  

Keywords: Randall Shelden, white collar crime

Posted in Blog, Social Justice

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