Why Is BP Being Called Out?

There’s good reason to be suspicious. In the case of the Exxon Valdez, Exxon paid pennies on the dollar.

If you’ve been following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill story you have heard BP called out by President Obama and other members of the administration. It seems harsher and more focused than what I’ve heard a president say about a corporation before.

Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, as I type this, just said it was the government’s commitment BP would pay all the costs and damages associated with this tragedy. Again, there was no vacillating. BP was called out.

There’s good reason to be suspicious and wary. When the Exxon Valdez broke up in Prince William Sound Exxon paid pennies on the dollar and took years to do even that.

Such tactics saved Exxon billions of dollars in the civil settlement for damages to public lands and wildlife (in which damages were estimated at up to $8 billion; but for which Exxon paid just $900 million) and in the class action lawsuit filed by those whose livelihoods were curtailed by the spill (for which the original jury awarded $5 billion in punitive damages; but which Exxon fought for 20 years until the Supreme Court lessened its burden to just $507 million). – Riki Ott, PhD

In the meantime the oil continues to gush and move toward shore.