BP Oil Spill Civil Trial Update



By: Julie Calhoun

You may have seen advertisements that BP is doing towards relief efforts in the gulf, but as the civil trial for BP continues they will still be held accountable for the effects.  UGA Marine Sciences professor Patricia Meideiros tells what research they’re doing now in the gulf, “This year was the first year of Ecogeek.  So now we started the second year and we hve crews that are goig to perform the same collections, the same points, and also some experiments, and chemical experiments to try to understand what’s going on there.  Even though the amount of oil may be lower now than it was in 2010 BP is being charged with allegations of gross negligence that resulted in the explosion of their rig and the death of 11 people.  BP will have to pay up due to their violation of the Clean Water Act.  The Clean Water Act states that a polluter pays a minimum of 1,100 dollars per barrel or spilled oil and could quadruple to 4,300 dollars per barrel is the company is found guilty of gross neglegence.  This puts BP at 18 million dollars, but they may have to pay upwards 42 million dollars to resolve it’s liability.  Now prices at the pump may seem normal now but this case could cause them to rise.  UGA environmental law professor says, ” The difficulty will be trying to allocate the whole lot of money among the effected states.  If civil penalties are awarded to the U.S. during trial that will simply go to the U.S. treasury and given the current problems we have with our budget it will not go to actually remedying the wrong that happend as result of the spill.  If the parties can not come to a settlement the judge wil decide how much money BP will have to give.  The case is expected to last nine months.