Almost a year after an oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico caused the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history, federal prosecutors are considering legal charges. Eleven workers were killed when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded on April 20 last year, and the Justice Department is now reportedly examining whether negligence makes BP managers guilty of involuntary manslaughter. Is this just scapegoating?
If they were negligent, prosecute them: How do you divvy up blame for an accident, asks Stephen Reader at Death and Taxes. Well, it's quite easy when "government regulations are ignored or circumvented." And that certainly seems to be the case here: BP had reportedly been aware of problems with the cement used to seal the well for three years, and decided against installing a key safety device. If it's proved that BP chiefs "opted to use shoddy equipment, or no equipment at all," then by all means, let them face prosecution.
"BP honchos could face manslaughter charges."
Don't expect to see Tony Hayward in court: BP's former chief executive Tony Hayward became the villain of last year's oil spill, says Nitasha Tiku at New York, and many may be excited "picturing [him] in an orange jumpsuit." Don't get your hopes up. Charges will likely only be for "low-level managers who ran the operation."
"BP could face manslaughter charges for Deepwater Horizon deaths"
The feds won't prosecute, but this really hurts BP: It's unlikely that individual BP managers or executives will be hauled into court, says Kirsten Korosec at BNET. But the mere consideration of manslaughter charges is "horribly damaging" to BP. Why? Because that means prosecutors have enough evidence to pursue criminal charges against the oil giant. If the company is found to be grossly negligent, it might be forced to pay more than $20 billion in fines.
"Should BP managers face manslaughter charges?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
- Ferguson riots were terrible — but this racist reaction was worse
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Don't argue about politics this Thanksgiving. Just don't.
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
- The hilarious hypocrisy of Republicans complaining about the imperial presidency
- In Ferguson, Michael Brown lost his life — and America's police lost the benefit of the doubt
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- How Rand Paul's GOP opponents will use his minority outreach against him
Subscribe to the Week