The former head of an EPA criminal probe into pipeline spills at a BP PLC oil field in Alaska claims the Justice Department prematurely shut down the investigation and settled with the company for less than the case may have warranted.
The Environmental Protection Agency in early 2007 considered seeking penalties of as much as $672 million and possible felony charges against BP for the 2006 spills, depending on what the probe uncovered, the former EPA official and EPA agree. The possible fine was based on variables such as how much money BP saved by not performing pipeline maintenance.
BP admitted in October 2007 to the lack of maintenance in a plea agreement to a lesser misdemeanor charge. It agreed in federal court in Alaska to plead guilty to the misdemeanor violation of the Clean Water Act, to be fined $20 million and to serve three years probation.
Above is an extract from The Wall Street Journal : <link removed>
Here is an interesting reading by Joel Connelly title : Big oil gets help leaving footprints in Alaska.
He writes :
British Petroleum got off by agreeing to one misdemeanor count and paying a total of $20 million in fines and restitution. The EPA had calculated the appropriate fine levels -- depending on economic assumptions -- at $58 million all the way up to $672 million.
The U.S. Supreme Court let off Exxon Mobil Corp. earlier this year, reducing from $2.5 billion to $507 million a punitive damages award to fishermen, native villages, local governments and others harmed by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.
Please read : seattlepi.nwsource.com/connell…1_joel21.html?source=mypi