This morning the Federal Government kicked off the first day of the BP oil spill trial by stating that the disaster, which caused millions of gallons of oil to spill into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, was caused by the company putting profits before safety. Justice Department attorney Mike Underhill went on to accuse BP of cultivating a “culture of corporate recklessness.” The trial will further investigate the rig that caused the catastrophic spill to decide how many billions of dollars BP will have to pony up for the incident.
On April 20, 2010, the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing eleven workers and causing a spill that amounted to millions of gallons of oil over 87 days. So far the disaster has spurred 130 private lawsuits, and the federal trial will determine how much more BP will be required to pay. The trial will also investigate claims that the company “cut costs to rush the job,” effectively sacrificing environmental and worker safety to make a buck.
BP, rig owner Transocean and contractor Halliburton are all on trial for cost and safety cutting. This morning’s presentation by Underhill specifically called out BP rig supervisor Donald Vidrine and BP engineer Mark Hafle, who had anticipated trouble after a safety test failed an hour before the explosion, but chose to not to take steps to prevent the disaster.
BP has already doled out $24 billion for spill-related issues, and it is anticipated to owe much more after the trial is complete. A judge, not a jury, will make the final decision should a settlement not be reached.
Via NY Daily News