BP battles for billions in latest Gulf Oil Spill pollution trial

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

HOUSTON/LONDON (Reuters) – BP will battle to hold down fines that could hit $18 billion in a new phase of the Gulf of Mexico trial that will rule on how much oil it spilled in 2010 and judge its efforts…

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>POLLUTION FINES

BP says 3.26 million barrels leaked from the well during the nearly three months it took to cap the blowout at the Deepwater Horizon rig; the U.S. government says it was 4.9 million. Both those totals include 810,000 barrels that were collected during clean-up and which Barbier has agreed to exclude.

This month, BP’s lawyers questioned the government’s figure. “United States experts employ unproven methods that require significant assumptions and extrapolations in lieu of … available data and other evidence,” they said in a filing.

They have also sought to convince Barbier that if the company is to be found guilty, it should amount to only “negligence” and not “gross negligence” – a crucial distinction since the latter carries much higher maximum penalties.

Under the Clean Water Act, negligence can be punished with a maximum fine of $1,100 for each barrel of oil spilled; a gross negligence verdict carries a potential $4,300 per barrel fine.

If the court judged the spill to have been 4.09 million barrels – the government estimate less oil recovered – the price of negligence could reach $4.5 billion. Gross negligence, in the costliest scenario, could run to $17.6 billion.<

See on www.reuters.com

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