America’s Hounding of BP No Longer Has Much to do With Louisiana’s Sad Pelicans
BP continues to pay a full price for the Deepwater Horizon disaster — deservedly so, you might say, given that 11 rig workers died in the April 2010 explosion that caused ‘the world’s worst oil spillage’ in the Gulf of Mexico. The contractor Halliburton and the rig operator Trans-ocean were also implicated, but blame has been heaped by all parties upon BP, which last month agreed a settlement with the Department of Justice that included pleading guilty to felonies and paying a $4.5 billion fine — to add to tens of billions paid in compensation to businesses along the Louisiana coast, manslaughter charges pending against BP executives, and the possibility of further huge fines for water pollution.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also temporarily banned the company from new federal contracts — blocking the renewal of up to $2 billion worth of orders from the US military to which BP is the biggest fuel supplier, and creating a gap which American companies such as Chevron are naturally eager to fill. Finally, it is reported that Tony Hayward, the former BP boss who bore the brunt of Barack Obama’s attacks on ‘British Petroleum’, has been divorced by his wife for ‘unreasonable behaviour’ — so the wish he expressed shortly after the spill, ‘I’d like my life back’, seems not in the end to have been fulfilled.