Beyond Petroleum fined top sum under Clean Air Act

October 25, 2007 at 11:52 am | Posted in Alaska, BP, Environment, Fine, Legal, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation | Leave a comment

BP fined $373m by US government
BP AberdeenThe US Department of Justice has fined oil giant BP $373m (£182m), for breaking environmental rules and committing fraud.

The fine includes a $50m fee after a Texas refinery explosion in 2005 that killed 15 people and injured 180 more.

That sum is the highest fine of its kind under the Clean Air Act.

The fraud charges relate to price manipulation from April 2003 to February 2004. Four ex-BP workers have been indicted for price manipulation.

Included in the fine is a $20m criminal fine to be paid to the state of Alaska and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation after crude oil leaked from pipelines, harming the environment.

“The BP cases demonstrate our commitment to enforcing the laws that protect our environment, the safety of Americans, and the integrity of the marketplace,” said Acting Attorney General Peter Keisler.


Perhaps we can expect to see more of these crimes brought to court as more examples of environmental degradation becomes more apparent?

It seems to me that crimes need to cause direct immediate harm or obvious damage and need to be visible (!) to be able to be addressed within a legal framework. I am not sure; this is just my impression.

Unfortunately, greenhouse gases are harmful over the long term, invisible, and (although increases in global atmospheric temperatures may be well understood by scientists) the tendency of scientists to hesitatingly attribute consequences by proportions with probabilities means the legal system would, I assume, struggle to bring an accusation of detrimental actions to bear upon a corporate entity where GHG emissions are concerned. Weight of evidence is crucial …


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