Sunday, June 13, 2010

In U.S. No Tolerance for Oil Spills

Handcuffs - Photo from Wikipedia

Nobody is claiming that BP deliberately caused the explosion on the Deepwater horizon and although there are suspicions that negligence may have been the cause it has yet to be proven. That isn't stopping some from claiming crimes have been committed.  Here is a typical example, this one is from the site Truthout:

evidence has emerged that appears to show BP knowingly cut corners on maintenance and safety on Deepwater Horizon's operations, which, according to blogger bmaz, who writes about legal issues at Emptywheel, could amount to criminal violations of the Clean Water Act. Additionally, because people were killed, BP and company officials could also face prosecution for negligent and reckless homicide.

This has implications for mariners, particularly if you work on tankers

From Watchkeeper: Dark lessons from the Gulf of Mexico

Firstly, it has illustrated once again, as if there was any doubt after the reaction to even small amounts of pollution, that the intolerance of such spills is absolute.
....... a US political class and media which seem intent on criminalizing anyone who, even inadvertently, harms the marine environment.

 And this:

in US waters, the whole concept of an “accident” is no longer valid, with the whole legal system in that country determined that any failure of judgement, or somebody making a technical decision which, in hindsight turns out to be wrong, must be subject to criminal sanctions.

If you are involved in an accident and spill oil you may not be able to count on the presumption of innocence.


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