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BP Executives May Face Manslaughter Charges

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TEHRAN, March 30 (ICANA) – Federal prosecutors are considering whether to pursue manslaughter charges against BP Plc managers for decisions made before the Gulf of Mexico oil well explosion last year that killed 11 workers and caused the biggest offshore spill in U.S. history, according to three people familiar with the matter.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 11:17:24 AM
BP Executives May Face Manslaughter Charges

U.S. investigators also are examining statements made by leaders of the companies involved in the spill -- including former BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward -- during congressional hearings last year to determine whether their testimony was at odds with what they knew, one of the people said. All three spoke on condition they not be named because they weren't authorized to discuss the case publicly. Bloomberg

Charging individuals would be significant to environmental -- safety cases because it might change behavior, said Jane Barrett, a law professor at the University of Maryland.

BP has admitted mistakes in the run-up to the rig blast but has denied accusations that it was "grossly negligent", a charge that could add tens of billions to the final bill it pays for the disaster. Reuters

"A manslaughter charge makes a charge of gross negligence more likely," one dealer said. Reuters

If BP is found to be grossly negligent, the maximum possible fines it faces would rise to over $21 billion from around $5 billion. Also, this may mean the company is unable to force its partners in the well to pay their 35 percent share of the total clean-up bill -- now estimated at $42 billion. Reuters

The Justice Department in June said it opened criminal and civil investigations into the spill, which began after an April 20 explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig that London-based BP leased from Transocean Ltd. (RIG), of Vernier, Switzerland. The department filed a civil suit against BP in December and hasn't filed criminal charges. It's continuing to investigate. Bloomberg

Due to the oil well explosion in 2010, BP's share price lost half its value from April to late June. It has since begun to slowly recover to some extent, but the challenges BP faces in the wake of the oil spill are clearly plentiful. sfgate.com

The Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) this week issued three Gulf deepwater drilling permits for the kind of projects that were halted after last year's Gulf oil spill, bringing the total number of approved deepwater permits since the spill to six. The Hill

On April 20, 2010, an initial explosion, then a larger one ignited BP's Deepwater Horizon platform. For over a day it burned before sinking, killing 11 crew members, releasing thousands of barrels of oil daily, and causing the greatest ever environmental disaster - criminal malfeasance by any standard. OpEdNews

BP was named by Mother Jones Magazine as one of the ten worst corporations in both 2001 and 2005 based on its environmental and human rights records. Catastrophe Map

In August, a team of government scientists estimated that 4.9 million barrels of oil gushed out of the well based on a starting flow rate of 62,000 barrels of oil a day. Nola.com

In 1991, BP was cited as the most polluting company in the U.S. based on EPA toxic release data. Catastrophe Map

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